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An officer who threatened Elijah McClain during fatal encounter is back with Aurora PD

Matthew Green, a K-9 officer at the time, threatened to unleash a police dog on McClain during the 2019 encounter that led to the 23-year-old's death. Now, he's back with the department.
Aurora police car
Posted at 5:21 PM, Jan 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-19 18:53:32-04

An officer who threatened Elijah McClain during the 2019 stop that led to the 23-year-old's death has been reinstated by the Aurora Police Department.

Matthew Green applied for reinstatement under interim Aurora Chief Dan Oates, a request granted by the city’s Civil Service Commission, according to a city spokesperson. The city says Green will soon join the patrol ranks with APD.

An independent investigation of the McClain arrest found that Green, who was working as a K-9 officer, threatened to unleash a police dog on McClain during the August 2019 encounter.

“Dude, if you keep messing around, I’m going to bring my dog out, and he’s going to dog bite you,” Green said, according to body-worn camera footage reviewed as part of the investigation.

Green was named in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the McClain familyagainst the City of Aurora in 2020. He is not, however, one of the officers facing charges in McClain’s death.

The city tells Denver7 Green left Aurora PD voluntarily in 2021 for a job in Douglas County.

McClain was unarmed and walking home from a corner store when he was encountered by Aurora police on Aug. 24, 2019, after a passerby called 911 to report him as suspicious. Over a nearly 20-minute span, police put McClain in a carotid hold, which limits blood flow to the brain.

He was handcuffed for much of the ordeal, and the lawsuit says in addition to the carotid hold, an arm bar and knees were used to hold McClain down — even as he vomited. When McClain became unresponsive, paramedics gave him ketamine, police have said.

McClain stopped breathing and became unresponsive and died days later.

His cause of death was first listed as “undetermined,” but an amended autopsy released in September showed McClain’s cause of death was “complications of ketamine administration following forcible restraint” but left his manner of death undetermined.

Breaking down the amended Elijah McClain autopsy report

In 2021, the city of Aurora agreed to settle the lawsuit brought by McClain's parents for $15 million.

A renewed focus was placed on McClain’s case in the wake of George Floyd’s death in 2020, several months after McClain’s death. In the years since, his case has brought national attention to forcible restraint by police and the use of ketamine by first responders.

On Friday, a group of police officers and paramedics pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from the arrest.

360 In Depth: Elijah McClain

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