By Jeremy Stahl, Vice
On Wednesday, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser announced a 32-count indictment against five men responsible for the death of Elijah McClain in 2019. The grand jury’s charge that McClain’s death was indeed the result of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide is a long overdue result of a renewed investigation, concluding nearly two years to the day after the unarmed 23-year-old Black Aurora resident was killed during a random and unlawful stop and frisk on his way home from purchasing iced tea.
While McClain’s family praised the indictment, which is inarguably a good move, it shouldn’t be forgotten why it took so long to get here. Officials and police officers in Aurora, through what we now know to be bankrupt investigations, lied to exonerate the five police officers and paramedics who respectively choked McClain to the point of unconsciousness and then applied—without any medical basis—an overdose of ketamine to a gentle, 143-pound man who by one of the officer’s own admissions posed no threat to anyone. And even as the killers are facing accountability, there is no similar action being taken towards those who prevented the killers from facing any sort of justice up to this point.