A highlight from An Afghan Refugee Helps Welcome New Arrivals; Mother To Elijah McClain Speaks Out

Here & Now
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You are i'm tanya bosley. I'm scott tong. It's here and now two years ago in aurora colorado twenty-three-year-old blackman. Elijah mclean died in police. Custody after he was put in a chokehold and injected with a powerful sedative now a new state report finds that aurora police and fire rescue have routinely violated state and federal law. Here's colorado attorney. General phill wiser. These actions are unacceptable. They hurt the people. That law enforcement is entrusted to protect and they destroy community trust. Now we have allison sherry justice reporter with colorado public radio. Allison what did we learn in this report about who tends to get arrested. In aurora and what forces used yes so in a state investigators found that aurora. Police has engaged in racially biased policing and used inappropriate force against residents for the last five or so years. And i have some numbers here. I'll go through quick later. Found that use of force against people of color was used almost two point five times more than whites based on their relative percentage of the population and nearly half of the people whom they used force against where black even though black residents make up about fifteen percent of the population. The other thing that they this report found is that aurora police arrested people of color one point three times more than white space from the population. Well i mean. Those numbers are are striking. I look quickly at this report. Which is pretty comprehensive. It also goes into a paramedics. We know that in elijah mcclain's case paramedics injected him with ketamine sedative. The autopsy was inconclusive as far as he died. But but what does this report. Say about the illegal use of ketamine by first responders. Yeah yes because men. Because of mclean's death the agency is halted its ketamine use but investigators found that in the year before that paramedics administered ketamine twenty two times for this condition called excited delirium and in more than half of those incidents. Paramedics failed to follow ketamine monitoring protocols. Like watching someone's heart rate watching their breathing. After the gave him the sedative. Investigators also found and this happened with elijah mclean. They administered ketamine at times at doses. Way above the maximum allowed for that weight of the person. So wait is a big deal when you're administering ketamine and they weren't getting the proper way before giving them the dosage and and does this report go into the y. Here why this pattern and practice of illegal behavior Are there kind of cultural reasons in in police and fire rescue here. You cultural reasons. And i think that's a big part of it. It's hard to kind of get at wise in police agency but this report did talk a little bit about police training which i thought was interesting. How the the training academy for the aurora police department has recently made a ton of changes. But before that it was a little bit militaristic in style. The cadets were assigned quote unquote battle buddies. They were yelled at personally embarrassed for mistakes. They're not doing that anymore. But clearly a lot of people who came up and our current officers there went through this sort of training culture. And i also think they've had a lot of leadership changes. They have brand new police chief. A lot of the more experienced officers feel like there's been some mixed messages at the top right. That's awesome sherry justice supporter with colorado public radio. Thanks so much thank you. Alison recently. Talked with mcclain's mother. Chenine mclean about the ways. Her life has changed since she lost her son. Her report adds depth and context to these latest developments. So we'll hear that now and a warning. Some of the descriptions in this story are disturbing. When elijah mclean's death started becoming national news. Many people expected his mother. Shannon mclean to take a leading role in the protest movement against police violence. But she's clear that's not her path. I'm not that kind of person you know to get on the bullhorn and lead a bunch of people down the street trying to fight for rice that we shouldn't have to fight for still in the two years since her son's death she's become a force for change both in colorado and nationally. For me it comes down to the policies and the laws chenine mcclain's nightmare started the night of august. Twenty four th twenty nineteen when police aurora colorado stopped. Her son as he was walking home from a convenience store after buying is t- caller told police they saw suspicious man wearing a mask waving his arms up there. When mclean didn't immediately follow an officers commands. He was tackled to the ground. Put in to corroded holds that cut off blood flow to his brain crew with a war. Fire had to give mclean a sedative to calm him down and that on his way to the hospital he suffered a cardiac arrest bear medic. Say he regained his pulse and is now at the hospital. Shamin mclean was homeless and living in a hotel with lively siblings. She says police contacted her. That night on a messaging app and said they needed to come get her but refused to say why so. They came to the hotel that i was at and they put me in one police vehicle and they put my two children another police vehicle and there was a police liaison to the victim's advocate was there also and when we got to the hospital it was still took another hour or so for them to let me see elijah when she finally did get into his room. Shannon says elijah wasn't in good shape. He was hooked up to a ventilator and had bubble wrap around his torso his head was swollen and there were tubes in machines coming out of his nose and mouth. His eyes were open a little but not alert. he didn't like rap music at all. His brain was not registered with the rap music at all but once it got too violent and things that he was already into his. It was a steady a steady wave of his brain chemistry but after several days doctors declared mclean brain dead and took him off life support in the months following her son's death. Chenine mclean was achingly lonely. She held vigils near the spot where he died a patch of weeds by the highway which she decorated with little solar lights artificial flowers from the dollar store as a single mom doing everything i could to ensure that elijah had a future so that he would end up a statistic and then him being a statistic anyway felt like the world have rejected us. You know she hired a lawyer but says there was more talking and media attention and interviews than actual change. She hadn't talked to anyone at the aurora police department since the hospital. She didn't know where things stood at that moment. In two thousand nineteen. The broader public was not focused on police. Brutality or violence. Colorado was quiet. The politician colorado were quiet. That change in the summer of twenty twenty after george floyd's murder in minneapolis.

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