Unsettling information about the death of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black man who passed away in police custody back in 2019, has come to light following the release of an amended autopsy report. A Denver coroner added, “complications of ketamine administration following forcible restraint.”
Coroner Stephen Cina’s revised autopsy findings for McClain were not made public until Friday, CNN reports, following the Denver District Court judge’s approval of the coroner’s emergency application.
The initial report had merely said that his cause of death was “undetermined” for three years, failing to specify whether it was due to natural causes, accidents, or homicide.
Police responded to a complaint regarding a “suspicious person” in August of 2019.
That person turned out to be McClain, who was donning a black ski mask when he was put in a neck hold and given a ketamine injection following a purchase of iced tea at a local corner store.
He was administered the drug once again after being forcibly restrained, and ultimately suffered a heart attack en route to the hospital.
Three days later, he was declared brain dead.
Elijah McClain “Would Still Be Alive” If Not For Ketamine Administration
Cina’s amended autopsy report noted that “the dosage of ketamine was too high for this individual” and added Elijah McClain “would most likely (still) be alive” if not for the administration of ketamine,” according to CNN.
“Simply put, this dosage of ketamine was too much for this individual, and it resulted in an overdose, even though the blood ketamine level was consistent with a ‘therapeutic’ concentration,” Cina wrote. “I believe that Mr. McClain would most likely be alive but for the administration of ketamine.”
The changes were reportedly made after the coroner’s office received “body camera footage, witness statements, and additional records that were a part of the grand jury investigation or available when the original autopsy was performed.”
Body camera footage obtained by 9 News was previously leaked to the public and showed Elijah McClain pleading with the police to stop as he struggled with them, saying them he was “an introvert” and that he was going home.
As he vomited due to the strain on his neck and chest, Elijah McClain himself could be heard really apologizing to the officers and telling them that he couldn’t “breathe correctly.”
Although the coroner’s amended autopsy report gives McClain’s family some more insight into the circumstances of his death, the precise cause of death for McClain is still labeled as “undetermined.”