Trial to begin in death of Elijah McClain, who was injected with ketamine while in a police chokehold


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By Deon J. Hampton, NBC News

The 23-year-old massage therapist was walking home from a store when he was stopped by officers four years ago in Aurora, Colorado.

Demonstrators rally in Aurora, Colo., on June 27, 2020, in protest of the death of Elijah McClain. (David Zalubowski / AP file)

DENVER — The trial of two men charged in the death of Elijah McClain, a Black man who was placed in a chokehold by police in Aurora, Colorado, and injected with a powerful sedative, is expected to begin this week.

The joint trial is the first of three scheduled this year involving the 23-year-old massage therapist’s encounter with police and first responders on the night of Aug. 24, 2019, after he bought iced tea from a corner store.

McClain’s death prompted months of protests demanding justice and police reform that were a precursor to national demonstrations held the following year in response to the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The Colorado attorney general’s office has charged two police officers, a former officer and two paramedics in the Denver suburb of Aurora with one count each of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide, as well as other charges contained in a 32-count indictment handed down by a grand jury in 2021.

They have all pleaded not guilty.

Read about the opening arguments.

When everyday activities can lead to your death, some Black Americans wonder if they’re really free at last.

More breaking news here.

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