Elijah McClain's Death to Be Investigated by Special Prosecutor, Governor Announces

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Colorado Governor Jared Polis has appointed a special prosecutor to investigate the death of Elijah McClain, a Black man who died following a confrontation with police in Aurora nearly a year ago. McClain, 23, was captured on police body cam walking home from a store after buying a bottle of iced tea for his brother.

He was wearing a ski mask, which prompted a 911 call. "He has a mask on. He put his hands up. I don't know he looks sketchy. He might be a good person or bad person," the caller says. Police approach McClain, saying they have a right to stop him because he looks suspicious.

"I'm going home," McClain says to police. He's then patted down because police say they thought he had a weapon. Officers say he tensed up, and McClain ends up on the ground pleading with officers, saying "I can't breathe." At one point, one of the officers puts him in a chokehold that cuts off blood to the brain, the Associated Press reported.

"If you keep messing around, I'm going to bring my dog out and he's gonna dog bite you," an officer says.

EMTs called to the scene then injected McClain with the sedative ketamine. He went into cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital and died three days later after being taken off life support. Officers were cleared of any wrongdoing. 

McClain worked as a massage therapist and played the violin for animals up for adoption in his downtime. His sister posted surveillance video of him at the store wearing his mask, doing what she calls his gratitude bow.

McClain's family said he was wearing the mask the night of his death because he has anemia and sometimes gets cold. 

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