Amended Elijah McClain autopsy report released

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The Adams County Coroner’s Office in Colorado released Elijah McClain’s altered autopsy report on Friday after several news organizations sued for its release.

The cause of death, previously listed as “undetermined,” was listed in the amended report as “complications of ketamine administration following forcible restraint.” The manner of death remained listed as “undetermined” as it was in the original report.

“The study indicates that [McClain] received an intramuscular dose of ketamine that was higher than recommended for his weight,” read the report by Adams County Monica Chief Medical Examiner Monica Broncucia-Jordan. “Additionally, my review of all of the body camera footage shows that Mr. McClain was extremely sedated within minutes of receiving a shot of ketamine. When he was placed on a stretcher, I believe he was exhibiting agonal breathing and respiratory arrest was imminent.”

She continued: “Simply put, this dose of ketamine was too much for this individual and it resulted in an overdose, even though his blood ketamine level was consistent with a ‘therapeutic’ blood concentration. I believe that Mr. McClain most likely would be alive but for the administration of ketamine.”

McClain, a black 23-year-old massage therapist, died after an encounter with the police in August 2019 while walking home from a convenience store.

In the report, Broncucia-Jordan acknowledged that another forensic pathologist may have deemed the manner of death in this case to be a “homicide or accident.”

The release is coming before the charge of five former Aurora police officers and paramedics in McClain’s death in 2019.

PHOTO: Aurora, Colo., police officers Erica Marrero, left, and Kyle Dittrich, right, were both fired for posing at the scene of Elijah McClain's death.  Jaron Jones, center, later resigned.

Aurora, Colo., police officers Erica Marrero, left, and Kyle Dittrich, right, were both fired for posing at the scene of Elijah McClain’s death. Jaron Jones, center, later resigned.

Aurora Police Department

A passerby had called 911 to report that McClain was acting “sketchy” while wearing a ski mask on a warm night. The attorney for the McClain family attributed this to McClain being anemic, which made him feel cold more easily.

Aurora police officers responded to the scene and confronted McClain. An officer can be heard saying in body camera footage that they put him in a carotid artery, which constricts the carotid artery and cuts off blood to the brain, according to to the Ministry of Justice. McClain can be heard saying, “I can’t breathe,” in police body camera footage.

Paramedics arrived and gave McClain an “excessive” dose of ketamine, according to McCain’s lawyer, and McClain went into cardiac arrest shortly after in an ambulance, according to officials. McClain was pronounced dead three days later.

Elijah McClain in an undated photo.

Family photo

Former Aurora police officers Jason Rosenblatt, Nathan Woodyard and Randy Roedema and paramedics Peter Cichuniec and Jeremy Cooper were charged with 32 felony counts, including manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and assault charges.

Their arraignment is set for November.

The report was modified based on confidential grand jury information, according to Broncucia-Jordan.

CPR News filed a lawsuit against the Adams County Coroner’s Office on Sept. 1, arguing that the autopsy report should be released. Several other local news organizations joined the effort after open records requests for the report were denied.

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