Settlement reached between family of Elijah McClain and city of Aurora

By: - October 19, 2021 3:24 pm
Elijah McClain memorial

A memorial at the site where 23-year-old Elijah McClain was violently detained by Aurora police in August 2019 while he was walking home from a convenience store. (Moe Clark/Colorado Newsline)

The city of Aurora has reached a settlement agreement with the parents of Elijah McClain, the 23 year-old Black man who died in August 2019 after police officers detained him and paramedics sedated him with ketamine while he was walking home. 

“Sheneen McClain confirms that a settlement in principle has been reached with the city of Aurora resolving all claims raised in her federal civil rights lawsuit,” reads a statement released Oct. 18 from the lawyers representing Elijah’s mother, Sheneen McClain. 

“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,” the statement continues. 

Elijah McClain died days after Aurora police attempted to arrest him on Aug. 24, 2019. He was not suspected of any crime. Officers placed him in violent restraints, including neck holds that restricted blood flow, and a paramedic gave him a large dose of ketamine without proper evaluation. His pulse and breathing stopped moments after that injection. 

Sheneen McClain filed the civil rights lawsuit with the U.S. District Court in Denver in 2020.

The defendants in the case include the city of Aurora and members of the city’s police and fire departments. Those defendants “denied Elijah almost his entire adult life, a life of bright promise both for him and for the many people with whom he would have shared his light and compassion,” that lawsuit text reads.

Elijah McClain’s father, LaWayne Mosley, also responded to the settlement in a statement through his lawyer.

“Nothing will bring back his son Elijah, whom he loved dearly, but he is hopeful that this settlement with Aurora, and the criminal charges against the officers and medics who killed Elijah, will allow his family and the community to begin to heal,” the statement reads.

The settlement comes after a grand jury in September issued 32 indictments against three Aurora police officers and two paramedics involved in detaining McClain, including charges of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. Details about the settlement amount have not been released. 

Elijah McClain’s death helped inspire a new police accountability law in Colorado that limits first responders’ ability to use ketamine to subdue someone.

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 12:52 p.m. on Oct. 20 to include the statement from Elijah McClain’s father. 


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Sara Wilson
Sara Wilson

Sara Wilson covers state government, Colorado's congressional delegation, energy and other stories for Newsline. She formerly was a reporter for The Pueblo Chieftain, where she covered politics and government in southern Colorado.