Elijah McClain's mother on her son's encounter with police: 'His life was snuffed out by the killers that took it'

In August 2019, police officers outside Denver violently restrained 23-year-old Elijah McClain, a Black man who was walking along the street listening to music. He went into cardiac arrest and died a few days later. The case initially came and went with no charges brought against the officers, but recently released police bodycam video has given the case renewed attention and scrutiny. On Thursday, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis ordered prosecutors to reopen the investigation. Elijah’s mother, Sheneen McClain, said her son never got to see his full potential. “His life was snuffed out by the killers that took it,” McClain told Yahoo News. “He was the epitome of pure.”

Video Transcript

- Happy birthday!

- Surprise!

[LAUGHTER]

Happy late birthday!

[INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC]

ELIJAH MCCLAIN: I can't-- I can't breathe. Please stop. [INAUDIBLE].

- --still fighting us in the ground.

ELIJAH MCCLAIN: My name's Elijah McClain!

- Yeah, but I had to use carotid.

ELIJAH MCCLAIN: Ask me what I was doing. I was just going home! [? Why'd ?] I get-- I'm an introvert, and I'm different!

- He come out?

ELIJAH MCCLAIN: Oh, no.

- Was he out?

- I heard some snoring.

ELIJAH MCCLAIN: I just don't like--

- But he wasn't completely.

ELIJAH MCCLAIN: --going home.

- He didn't lose consciousness?

ELIJAH MCCLAIN: I'm just different. I'm just different.

- [INAUDIBLE].

ELIJAH MCCLAIN: That's all. That's all I was doing,

- It was actually [INAUDIBLE].

ELIJAH MCCLAIN: I'm so sorry.

- [INAUDIBLE] your gun, dude.

ELIJAH MCCLAIN: I have no gun.

- That's why I tried carotid--

[SIREN]

ELIJAH MCCLAIN: I don't do that stuff! I don't do any fighting.

- [INAUDIBLE] units that are not here.

ELIJAH MCCLAIN: Why were you attacking me?

- --slow it down a little bit.

ELIJAH MCCLAIN: I don't [INAUDIBLE]. I don't even kill flies.

- [INAUDIBLE].

ELIJAH MCCLAIN: I don't eat meat. I [INAUDIBLE]-- I'm a vegetarian.

- Do we have anything other than him being suspicious?

ELIJAH MCCLAIN: I don't judge people.

- No. I mean, [INAUDIBLE].

[INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC]

ELIJAH MCCLAIN: I can't breathe correctly 'cause--

- That doesn't look [INAUDIBLE].

ELIJAH MCCLAIN: [VOMITING]

- Move your camera, dude.

[POLICE RADIO CHATTER]

ELIJAH MCCLAIN: [VOMITING]

[INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC]

- They'll be back.

ELIJAH MCCLAIN: I'll say, no way. This is a luau party. [LAUGHS] [INAUDIBLE].

SHENEEN MCCLAIN: Elijah was a giver. He was a lightworker. He wanted other people to feel good about themselves, so he did everything he could to feel good about himself. He accomplished a lot of things in his young life before his life was snuffed out by the killers that took it. And the sad part is that there was other people that wouldn't help. He was the epitome of pure.

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