The modified autopsy report stated that Elijah McClain’s death was caused by ketamine injections

AURORA, Colorado — A modified autopsy report released Friday revealed Elijah MacLean, a 23-year-old black man who died after a confrontation with police officers, because he was injected with ketamine by paramedics after being forcibly restrained.

“I believe this tragic death is likely the result of ketamine poisoning,” the report said, adding that McClain received a higher dose of the sedative than he should have been. “Simply put, this dose of ketamine was too much for this individual and led to an overdose.”

According to the revised report, the manner of McClain’s death is not specified.

The original autopsy report, signed on November 7, 2019, said the cause of McClain’s death could not be determined, but new information that emerged during a grand jury investigation prompted the state attorney general’s office to issue a second autopsy order.

The report stated that “the opinions presented were based on information available at the time. Since then, this office has received additional material for review including extensive body camera footage, witness statements, and additional records.” “It is noteworthy that this material was requested prior to the release of the initial autopsy, but the material was either not provided to us or was not provided to us in full.”

The revised report comes one month after Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser announced that two police officers, a former officer and two paramedics in the Denver suburb of Aurora have been charged with premeditated murder and murder for criminal negligence, among other things. The allegations are in the 32-count indictment.

Officers responded to a call about a suspicious person who put MacLean, a massage therapist, into a chokehold and paramedics later injected him with ketamine, a powerful sedative, on the night of August 24, 2019, after McClean bought iced tea in a corner. The store, the authorities said. He died about a week later.

Although he’s never heard of it, changing an official cause of death is rare, said Ian Farrell, associate professor of law at the University of Denver.

“For there to be a second autopsy, you have to have reason to believe there is a problem with the first,” he said.

State officials said the five named in the indictment will appear in Adams County Court on November 4. namely, Aurora Police Officers Nathan Woodyard and Randy Rodima; former Aurora Officer Jason Rosenblatt; and paramedics Jeremy Cooper and Peter Sichonik.

Weiser’s office declined to comment, and counsel for the defendants could not be reached.

The new autopsy report has been released to the public after Colorado Public Radio She sued Coroner’s Adams County office to deny the news organization’s request for a copy of the amended report.

Steve Zansberg, the Colorado-based and First Amendment attorney who filed the suit on behalf of Colorado Public Radio, said the new report could play a key role if McClain’s case goes to trial.

“The prosecution team will argue in court that the coroner’s office initially came to a finding that was initially not well informed,” he said. “Defendants will argue that the attorney general’s office coaxed or twisted the arm,” the coroner’s office said, and that the original autopsy was accurate.

Farrell, who is not involved in the McClain case, said the original autopsy would not have prevented obtaining a conviction, but it is an obstacle.

He said, “I don’t think anyone could reasonably argue that if Mr. Maclean had just been allowed to go home that night, he would have died. So, at least in some sense, they caused (the defendants) death by the things they did from the point of view of legal.”

McLean had just walked out of the store where he bought his iced tea when he was stopped by police in response to a call from a suspicious person wearing a ski mask and waving his arms.

McClain usually wore a ski mask due to a bloody condition that made him feel cold, according to his family.

Officers questioned him and then caught him when an officer thought McClain was looking for a pistol.

Authorities said that officers applied carotid control to McClain, a type of strangulation intended to constrict blood to the brain to render a person unconscious.

Paramedics who were called to the scene injected McClain with ketamine to calm him. Inside an ambulance about seven minutes later, McClain had no pulse and went into cardiac arrest, according to a report later that year by the then attorney general. Dave Young. Paramedics were able to revive McClain, but he was declared brain dead and life support was withdrawn less than a week later.

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