The Colorado attorney general said on Wednesday that a grand jury indicted three officers and two paramedics in the murder of Elijah McClain , a black man who was strangled and injected with a strong sedative two years ago in suburban Denver.
The death of the 23-year-old drew attention during last year's protests against racial injustice and police brutality over the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
McClain's pleading words that were captured on a police body video - " I'm just different " - was posted on billboards during protests and spoken by celebrities who joined those calling for the pursuit of officers who clashed with McClain as he walked down the street in Aurora Town after a 911 l ' 'caller reported that he looked suspicious.
Stories about McClain, a massage therapist who relatives described as a sweet and kind introvert who nevertheless wanted to "change the world ", and the music lover even volunteered to play his violin to comfort cats at an animal shelter.
Attorney General Phil Weiser said all five officers and paramedics were charged with manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide, while some also faced additional charges.
In the face of pressure during a nationwide uprising for racial justice and an end to these blatant killings, Democratic Governor Jared Polis ordered Weiser to open a new criminal investigation .
A district attorney said in 2019 that he could not indict police because an autopsy could not determine how McClain died.
McClain fell into a coma after being arrested on the street by police in August 2019 as he returned home from a convenience store where he was buying iced teas. While in custody, paramedics injected him with a large amount of the sedative ketamine.
In January, Weiser announced that he had opened a investigation before a grand jury, noting that grand juries have the power to demand testimony and documents that would otherwise not be available.
It was one of many investigations sparked at least in part by McClain's death, including reviews of McClain's arrest commissioned by the City of Aurora and a full reviewof the police department.
The attorney general's office is also investigating the agency's civil rights, the first under a new law on police liability in Colorado .
Very critical review Aurora failed to find evidence in justi Officers arrested McClain on his way home from the store, after a 911 caller reported a man wearing a ski mask and waving hands, which seemed "insufficient".
His family said McClain wore the mask because he suffered from anemia which caused him made to get cold easily ly.
Police body cam video shows a policeman exiting his car, approaching McClain on the trostanding there and saying, "Stop there. Stop. Stop ... I have the right to stop you because you are suspicious. "
In the video, the officer puts his hand on McClain's shoulder and turns him over and repeats, "Stop twitching.
As McClain protests verbally, the officer says, "Relax. you, or I'm going to have to change this situation. ”
As the other officers join them in restraining McClain, he asks them to let go and says: "You started stopping me, and I was stopping my music to listen.
Police body cameras did not capture exactly what happened next, but McClain can be heard trying to explain himself and occasionally crying or sobbing. He says he can't breathe and he was going home.
"I'm just different. I'm just different, this is is all. This is twhatever I was doing. I am really sorry. I don 't have a gun. I don't do that sort of thing. I don't do any fighting. Why did you attack me? I do not make weapons. I don't even kill flies. I don't eat meat… I'm a vegetarian, ”he said.
An officer finally retrieves his camera, which shows McClain in handcuffs, lying on sideways and periodically vomiting as another officer leans on him. An officer who later arrived threatened to bite his police dog McClain.
Paramedics arrived and injected McClain with 500 mg of ketamine - over 1.5 times the dose for his weight.
In five minutes, according to a federal lawsuit by McClain's family, he stopped breathing. He died six days later after being declared brain dead and removed from the resuscitation system.
P's announcementThe Attorney General comes after three Aurora officers, including one involved in the meeting with McClain, were fired and one resigned last year for photos mimicking the strangulation used on the 23-year-old.