The Cause of Death For Elijah McClain Was Changed to Ketamine Overdose

The Adams County coroner has changed Elijah McClain, 23, to have died from ketamine administration after being restrained violently. However, he still says the manner of death is “undetermined,” which contradicts the state’s case against the police officers and paramedics who are charged in connection with his death.

Adams County’s elected coroner, Monica Broncucia-Jordan, and her contracted forensic pathologist reversed course last year under a statewide grand jury inquiry, but the reasons remain murky.

Adams County’s official medical examiner, Dr. Stephen Cina, updated his original autopsy report on Friday to reflect that new evidence from the grand jury investigation had been made available to him, such as comprehensive body camera footage, witness testimony, and more data. He claims he requested them back after the initial autopsy in 2019 but was only given some of the items.

According to Cina, the primary cause of McClain’s demise was the excessive dosage of ketamine administered to him by paramedics.

“Put, this amount of ketamine was too much for this guy, and the outcome was an overdose… The infusion of ketamine undoubtedly saved Mr. McClain’s life.

Furthermore, Cina essentially absolves law enforcement officials of responsibility for McClain’s death, arguing that the carotid control chokehold McClain suffered would not have resulted in permanent injury.

He argued that there were no long-term risks associated with the usage of such holds in martial arts. No evidence of traumatic asphyxiation was seen in the neck… I have not seen any proof that police brutality resulted in death.

According to Cina, “if he had not had this injection, he likely would have recovered.”

Some months after McClain’s fatal 2019 contact with police, an autopsy was issued with an “undetermined” cause and manner of death signed by Broncucia-Jordan and performed by Cina.

However, new information was produced during the 2021 closed-door inquiry by the state’s grand jury, and the revised policy went into effect on July 1, 2021. On Friday, it was made available to the whole public.

The Cause of Death For Elijah McClain Was Changed to Ketamine Overdose

Since 2019, prosecutors and advocates for McClain’s case have been hampered by the autopsy’s “undetermined” cause of death.

McClain was taken into police custody without his will and given ketamine by paramedics on August 24, 2019. He afterward went into a coma and died at the hospital. On August 27, 2019, he passed away.

Afterward, the local district attorney at the time, Dave Young, decided not to press charges against anyone in connection with McClain’s murder,m mainly because there was no “homicide” judgment on the death certificate.

In a news release issued in 2020, Young said, “Elijah McClain’s death was both terrible and needles,s” in response to the raging demonstrations in Aurora and Denver against police violence and McClain’s murder.

According to the autopsy results, it was impossible to identify what killed the victim. More specifically, the autopsy pathologist indicated that he could not determine that Mr. McClain’s death resulted from any officer’s actions. In Colorado, the prosecution must present evidence that the defendant’s actions directly resulted in the victim’s death for a homicide charge to be upheld.

However, without a murder statement on the death certificate, it is unclear how prosecutors would hold anyone who touched McClain that night liable for his death.

Particularly relevant to the case against the police officers is at they didn’t touch the ketamine that night.

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