AURORA | Nearly 26 months after Aurora first responders stopped, restrained and sedated Elijah McClain as he was walking home from a convenience store, attorneys representing his estate announced they have settled a federal civil rights lawsuit against the City of Aurora for an undisclosed sum.
Several lawyers representing Sheneen McClain, Elijah’s mother, released a statement Monday confirming that they have reached an agreement with the city to resolve all claims raised in the original suit filed on behalf of McClain’s estate in August 2020.
A judge will now decide how the undisclosed funds will be split between Sheneen McClain and Lawayne Mosley, Elijah’s father.
The amount of the settlement will not be released until that allocation process with McClain’s parents concludes, according to Ryan Luby, spokesperson for the City of Aurora.
“The city of Aurora and the family of Elijah McClain reached a settlement agreement in principle over the summer to resolve the lawsuit filed after his tragic death in August 2019,” Luby wrote in an email. “City leaders are prepared to sign the agreement as soon as the family members complete a separate but related allocation process to which the city is not a party. Until those issues are resolved and the agreement is in its final form, the parties cannot disclose the settlement terms. No amount was discussed in the recent telephonic court hearing.”
The announcement Monday came more than a year after Sheneen McClain’s original team of lawyers — she changed counsel last winter, records show — filed their 106-page complaint, which detailed McClain’s fatal encounter with Aurora police officers and Aurora Fire Rescue paramedics.
“Elijah was listening to music, enjoying the short walk home from the corner store with some iced tea when Aurora police officers grabbed, tackled, and assaulted him,” the document filed in U.S. District Court reads.
The police officers who placed McClain into a now-banned chokehold and the fire paramedics who overdosed him with a powerful sedative last month were indicted by a state grand jury.
A combination of private consultants and elected officials, including state attorney general Phil Weiser, have repeatedly lambasted how Aurora police and fire personnel handled McClain’s arrest. The massage therapist’s death led to a series of policy changes within the Aurora Police Department and the passage of bellwether criminal justice reform legislation passed last summer.
To date, the largest payout tied to an incident involving Aurora police was the $2.6 million given to the family of Naeschylus Carter-Vinzant, who in March 2015 was shot and killed while walking down an Aurora street.