Elijah McClain should not have been injected with ketamine

McClain was given with 500 milligrams of ketamine, a dose intended for someone over twice his size.

Elijah McClain, 23, should not have been subdued by Aurora police while on ketamine, some medical and legal experts are saying.

McClain died after being put into a chokehold by the Colorado police, and injected with a sedative called ketamine by paramedics last summer.

READ MORE: The FBI, Justice Department were already investigating Elijah McClain’s death

“He was begging for his life, vomiting and trying to breathe. And they certainly had no right to involuntarily inject him with a dose intended for someone over twice his size.” said Mari Newman, an attorney for McClain’s family.

McClain was interjected with 500 milligrams of ketamine.

Ketamine is a potent dissociative anesthetic, or in other words, it makes users feel detached from one’s body, NBC reported. It is also a street drug, often called Special K, but various forms of ketamine are available over the counter to treat depression.


McClain’s death is yet another high profile case concerning the ongoing issue of police brutality.

Although the Denver suburb of Aurora’s Fire and emergency medical services officials have said their actions were “consistent and aligned with our established protocols” in a preliminary review, many protesters are demanding that prosecutors bring justice, NBC reported.

A memorial near where Elijah McClain was forcibly restrained by Aurora police officers. (Photo by Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)

“Why anyone would be giving ketamine in that circumstance is beyond me,” said neuroscientist Carl Hart, chair of Columbia University’s psychology department. “The major problem here is we should never be ordering any medication, and no one should be taking or given it against their will.”

READ MORE: Officer who stopped Elijah McClain fired over photos

As theGrio previously reported, police stopped McClain after someone called 911 to report him as “suspicious”, because he was walking home from a convenience store run in a ski mask.

McClain wore a ski mask because his face often felt cold, stemming from a blood condition called anemia.