U.S.

Elijah McClain’s autopsy report changed to death by ketamine

Ketamine was named in the original autopsy, but not the cause of death

In the summer of 2019, police arrested McClain, who was walking home from a supermarket, because they thought he looked suspicious. McClain, who is black, was not charged with any crime when they aggressively arrested him, knocked him to the ground and narrowed two carotid arteries.

After McClain was handcuffed, paramedics arrived at the scene and spoke to the officers, who told them that McClain appeared to have “superhuman” strength. After about two minutes on the scene, the paramedics concluded that he was suffering from “excited delirium”. They came to this conclusion after speaking to officers and observing McClain for a minute, the indictment said.

Neither paramedic spoke to McClain, physically touched him, or recorded his vital signs.

McClain was given 500 mg of ketamine, which was administered after paramedic Jeremy Cooper determined that McClain’s weight was about 200 pounds. McClain actually weighed 143 pounds and his correct dosage should have been closer to 325 mg of ketamine, according to the indictment.

Cooper told police: “We’ll leave him there until the ambulance arrives and we’ll just put him on the stretcher,” the indictment said.

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After McClain’s death, Dr. Stephen Cina, a contractor forensic pathologist for Adams County, performed the autopsy on September 3, 2019. Two Aurora officers and two representatives from the Adams County District Attorney’s office were present.

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“The 23-year-old African-American man, Elijah McClain, died of unknown causes,” according to the original autopsy. “Intense physical exertion and a narrow left coronary artery contributed to his death.”

Ketamine was mentioned at length in the original autopsy, but Cina concluded that it was not necessarily a factor in McClain’s death. The toxicological results reported in that original report were a ketamine level of 1400 ng/ML.

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