Elijah McClain Indictments: Why Colorado AG filed charges when Adams DA didn’t

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DENVER (KDVR) — The negligent homicide and manslaughter indictments of five first responders for the death of Elijah McClain is the opposite result reached by the District Attorney of Adams County in 2019.

Dave Young was the DA for the 17th Judicial District when he issued a letter to Aurora Police on November 22, 2019 detailing why he chose to file not criminal charges against anyone for the death of McClain.

Yet nearly two years later, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser has announced there’s enough evidence to file 32 counts, including manslaughter against 5 men, three were police officers at the time and two were paramedics.

The difference appears to be the medical experts each agency relied on.

The Adams County Coroner found the cause of McClain’s death to be “Undetermined.” In June of 2020, Young would release a statement clarifying his decision by writing, “Specifically, the pathologist who conducted the autopsy stated that he was unable to conclude that the actions of any law enforcement officer caused Mr. McClain’s death.”

The 24-page indictment released by Weiser makes it clear the grand jury heard from a different forensic pathologist who found the cause of McClain’s death to be homicide “following the acute Ketamine administration during violent subdual and restrain by law enforcement and response personnel.”

The use of Ketamine remains the most controversial element of McClain’s death. The powerful sedative was given to McClain because paramedics said the 23-year old exhibited signs of “excited delirium” a diagnosis that the Adams County Coroner and investigators from Aurora Police Internal Affairs and the 17th Judicial District Attorney’s office didn’t seem to seriously challenge despite body cam footage that might suggest otherwise.

The Attorney General’s indictment released Wednesday morning makes reference to an emergency room doctor who watched the body worn camera footage  and “concluded that Ketamine should never have been administered. In addition, paramedics administered 500 MG of Ketamine to a patient whose correct dosage, had the drug been warranted, would have been 325 mg.”

The indictment states 500 mg of Ketamine would’ve been too much for a person who weighed 200 pounds and McClain weighed 143 pounds.

“There was never any reason to stop Elijah McClain,” said attorney Mari Newman, who represents McClain’s father LeWayne Mosley, “He was walking home minding his own business. There was no reason to lay a finger on Elijah McClain, certainly not any of the horrifying uses of forces against him and there was no reason to give him one drop of Ketamine.”

Newman told the Problem Solvers both she and Mosley were pleasantly surprised that after the former district attorney for Adams County declined to prosecute, the result would be different this time, “When we spoke last night with the attorney general’s office he (Mosley) actually burst into tears. He was so relieved and happy to hear that his son’s killers will finally, finally be held accountable.”  

Dave Young couldn’t run for re-election in the 17th Judicial District because of term limits. He is now a prosecutor in the 4th Judicial District which covers El Paso County. The Problem Solvers reached out to Young but were told he had no comment on the indictments.

The FOX31 Problem Solvers have done extensive investigations into McClain’s death.

Catch up with the investigation here:

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