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Elijah McClain’s Family Settles Federal Civil Lawsuit Over His 2019 Death

A specific settlement amount hasn’t been released pending a family allocation process, lawyers representing Elijah McClain’s family and city officials said this week.  

By Dorian Geiger
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Elijah McClain’s family have reached a settlement agreement with the City of Aurora, Colorado in a federal civil rights lawsuit. McClain, who was 23 a the time, died after a violent encounter with the police. 

The proposed settlement was made between McClain’s parents and the city of Aurora during a telephonic hearing in Colorado U.S. district court on Oct. 8, electronic court filings show. A settlement sum in the civil case hasn’t wasn’t disclosed.

According to the family’s legal team, the "allocation of the proceeds" between McClain’s parents, Sheneen McClain and Lawayne Mosley, are being finalized.

“The court will now determine allocation of the proceeds between Ms. McClain, the parent who raised Elijah McClain by herself, and Lawayne Mosley, the absent biological father,” lawyers representing the family said in a statement sent to Oxygen.com.

Aurora city officials also confirmed the settlement on Tuesday, adding municipal leaders have yet to sign the civil case’s settlement agreement, pending the family’s allocation process.

“City leaders are prepared to sign the agreement as soon as the family members complete a separate but related allocation process to which the city is not a party,” Ryan S. Luby, the City of Aurora’s Deputy Director of Communications, told Oxygen.com in a statement. “Until those issues are resolved and the agreement is in its final form, the parties cannot disclose the settlement terms.”

The city spokesperson refrained from commenting further on the ongoing matter this week.

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McClain was killed on Aug. 24, 2019, after police placed him in a chokehold and injected him with ketamine. The lawsuit alleged that McClain was “brutalized” by officers for nearly 18 minutes.

"Elijah was listening to music, enjoying the short walk home from the corner store with some iced tea when Aurora police officers grabbed, tackled, and assaulted him," the lawsuit’s 106-page complaint, obtained by Oxygen.com, stated.

Some of McClain’s final words were “I can’t breathe.”

The officers claimed McClain attempted to grab for an officer’s gun during the confrontation, so they placed him in a chokehold and paramedics administered 500 milligrams of ketamine due to his state of “excited delirium.”

McClain was pronounced brain dead three days later and was taken off life support. His cause of death was inconclusive.

"Aurora Fire appears to have accepted the officers' impression that Mr. McClain had excited delirium without corroborating that impression through meaningful observations or diagnostic examination of Mr. McClain," a city investigation concluded earlier this year.

Last month, officers Nathan Woodyard, Randy Roedema, and Jason Rosenblatt, as well as paramedics Peter Cichuniec and Jeremy Cooper, were indicted on manslaughter and second-degree negligent homicide charges by a statewide grand jury.

McClain was previously absolved of any wrongdoing in February following a state probe into his death.

A spokesperson for the Aurora Police Department declined to comment on the open civil case on Tuesday. 

A status conference in the civil case is scheduled for Nov. 19 before Magistrate Judge N. Reid Neureiter, according to court filings.