Nothing to disclose.
On August 24, 2019, in Colorado, Elijah McClain was walking home after buying an iced tea for his brother. He was anemic and wore an open-faced ski mask to keep himself warm. Police officers responded to a call about a “suspicious person” and, without cause, restrained Elijah, placed him in a carotid hold, threatened him, and then dosed him with ketamine. All these actions resulted in Elijah’s eventual cardiac death.
All instances of racial injustice are horrifying but this one hit a little differently with me.
First, this took place in CO, a state I call a second home because I went to university in Fort Collins. Second, Elijah was ill and took precautions to keep himself safe. I often wear sweatpants, sweatshirts, and hats to keep myself warm, even in the summer. I understand what Elijah was doing. These circumstances do not make him a “suspicious person”.
The officers responded aggressively and unnecessarily because apparently, Elijah was fighting back. From the video footage, it is clear Elijah did no such thing. He was a scared kid who was assaulted by power-drunk policemen who used any excuse to detain a black man.
Elijah was sick and vomiting. He couldn’t breathe. He said these things and the police used them to threaten canine action and dope him. He was too weak to fight back. Why did they need to sedate him?
Ketamine could be deadly to anyone with anemia and in conjunction with a carotid hold, Elijah never stood a chance.
It’s devastating that a kid who contributed so much to life was robbed of it too soon because of his race. Being black did not make him a person of interest. Being black did not make him a questionable character. He was ill and tried to live the best he could given the circumstances. A racist person called the police because they thought a black man, walking alone did not belong in their neighborhood.
Colorado, you failed. How can you keep these officers in the field knowing they could murder someone else. You are placing the safety of your residents in the hands of criminals.
Fire the police officers involved. Try them for murder. Put them away. Administrative leave pay is not okay. People you hired to uphold the law killed an innocent person.
Colorado, you scare me. I used to be so proud to call Colorado my home. I was excited to go back. Now, I am scared. I wear sweatpants and sweatshirts because I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and I cannot always wear “acceptable” clothing. I wear hats, even in summer, because I get severely cold. I wear sunglasses because my eyes are really sensitive to sunlight.
Are you telling me I cannot walk around with my sweatshirt hood pulled over my head because some white jackass will call the police on me? They won’t see a girl or a veterinary medicine student. They will only see a person of color who doesn’t fit in. Are you telling me it’s okay that when the police officers respond to the call they will restrain me first and ask questions later? Is it okay that the same people you think keep your citizens safe will definitely hurt me because I am small and sick?
Think about that. That sounds absurd written out like that. But, you caused this.
Instead of enjoying student life, working towards vet school, and helping others, I have to worry that in minutes all of my goals and dreams could be snuffed out because I am not white.
The people you employ to keep your citizens safe killed one of them for no other reason than the color of his skin. You want me to trust that they will keep me safe, too? They are murderers. By definition these officers are NOT SAFE.
To the police officers who killed Elijah McClain – you murdered a very special person. He was a massage therapist who took away other people’s pain. He was an animal lover. He was a musician. He shared love and positivity. He had family. He had friends. He was only enjoying his life which you then took away without any thought.
Say his name. Bring justice to Elijah McClain.
Below are a handful of resources to bring awareness to Elijah, including the petition link to re-open the investigation, the GoFundMe page for the foundation in his honor, and the numbers of the CO representatives to demand change.
Hi, my name is Monica and I have RA.
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(All contributions to this post will go directly to the NPAP.)