Sheneen McClain, the mother of 23-year-old Black massage therapist Elijah McClain, seeks justice for the August 2019 death of her son.
In an interview with TMZ posted early Friday morning, Sheneen speaks out on the news that Colorado Governor Jared Polis has assigned Attorney General Phil Weiser to reopen the case after Adams County District Attorney Dave Young did not charge the officers who stopped Elijah on the night of August 24, 2019.
“I think it’s just another song and dance that Aurora Colorado is doing to cover themselves. The more time goes by, they feel people are going to forget about it,” Sheneen told the outlet.
Sheneen also believes authorities are engaging in “an elaborate cover-up” in order “to get away with murder.”
Among the controversial aspects of Elijah’s case include the allegation that the cops’ body cameras were knocked off during their confrontation with Elijah, the November 2019 autopsy that listed Elijah’s cause of death as “undetermined,” and the June 2020 assignment (and then termination) of Connecticut-based attorney and former police officer Eric Daigle to lead an independent investigation into Elijah’s death.
At the end of the day, Sheneen said she simply wants the cops involved to be held accountable, which means for them to get “life in prison.”
“The minute that Elijah’s last breath left his body, they got away with it. And the only thing that will make me feel better as a mom would them to have life in prison,” she exclaimed. “And those that watched the other police officers that did not deescalate, they need to lose their jobs and… it needs to become a felony on their record because of… the profession that they’re in. You know, the badge, the oath, that what they’re supposed to represent, they went completely against it.”
Despite her heartache, Sheneen takes comfort in knowing that Elijah’s story has touched the hearts of millions.
“The more people know about it, the more people are aware in how to protect themselves. With everybody knowing about it, the only thing that makes me feel good about that is that his story is out there,” she said. “Because nothing can change that he’s not here. I’m always going to be hopeless and feel helpless because as his mom I can’t protect him. I could not protect him that day.”
Per an August 26, 2019, press release from the Aurora Police Department, a 911 caller reported Elijah on the night of August 24, 2019, because he was “flailing his arms” and was wearing a ski mask — which Elijah’s sister, Naomi McClain, later explained was to keep him warm, as he had anemia.
Officers Nathan Woodyard, Jason Rosenblatt, and Randy Roedema then “contacted” Elijah, but Elijah allegedly “would not stop walking down the street from the officer.” Elijah allegedly “resisted contact, a struggle ensued and he was taken into custody.”
The release also states that when cops held Elijah down, paramedics gave him a “standard medication” — reportedly 500 mg of ketamine — to reduce his agitation.
While being transported to the hospital, Elijah went into cardiac arrest. He was pronounced dead less than a week later on August 30, 2019.