Elijah McClain

Police officers in the city of Aurora, Colorado, had no legal reason to stop, frisk, and choke Elijah McClain, a new independent review commissioned by Aurora’s city council found on Monday.

Back in Aug. of 2019, McClain was stopped as he was walking home from a convenience store after a 911 caller reported a “suspicious person.” The 23-year-old McClain was wearing a ski mask and listening to music on his headphones when the police officers approached him. Aurora police officers involved in the incident placed McClain in a chokehold. He was given a sedative by medical personnel and later suffered a heart attack while in the ambulance. McClain was declared brain dead three days later.

The new investigative report found officers had no legal reason to frisk or put McClain in the controversial chokehold, pointing out that none of the officers involved suspected McClain of a specific crime at any point before he was wrestled to the ground.

The initial investigation into the incident led by the department’s detectives in the Major Crimes Unit was also deeply flawed, the investigators found.  “In addition, the report of the Major Crime Unit stretched the record to exonerate the officers rather than present a neutral version of the facts,” the investigators wrote.