DENVER – Elijah McClain’s mother will join President Joe Biden at the White House Wednesday as the president signs a police reform executive order on the anniversary of George Floyd’s killing at the hands of Minneapolis officers.
Sheneen McClain will be one of about 150 people on hand, including the families of victims killed by police, lawmakers, and the national fraternal order of police, according to her attorney, Qusair Mohamedbhai, who will join her on the trip. The Denver Post first reported Sheneen McClain would be at the order signing on Tuesday.
Elijah McClain, 23, died in 2019 after he was violently arrested by Aurora police and administered a heavy dose of ketamine by Aurora paramedics. Mohamedbhai said he is being told Biden will met separately with victim’s families after the signing of the order. Floyd’s family is expected to attend the signing.
The order would require federal law enforcement agencies to review and make changes to their use-of-force policies and create a database to track misconduct by officers, according to the White House.
According to The Associated Press, federal officials are thinking about ways to encourage local law enforcement agencies to take part in developing the database, including by offering federal money. It also, according to the AP, would cut down on the amount of surplus military equipment being purchased by police.
Biden’s order comes after inaction by Congress to address racial disparities involving police use of force and misconduct in the wake of Floyd’s death. Protests throughout the summer of 2020 following Floyd’s murder also brought national light to McClain’s death, and many of the protests in Colorado were heavily linked to police misconduct in that case.
Former Adams County District Attorney Dave Young cleared the three officers involved in McClain’s violent arrest of any criminal charges and Nick Metz, Aurora’s chief of police at the time, said the officers did not violate any of the department’s policies.
But a team of independent investigators last year released the results of their review of the investigation following McClain’s death, which they found was “flawed” and “failed to meaningfully develop a fulsome record.”
Last September, a state grand jury returned a 32-count indictment against the three officers and two paramedics involved in McClain’s death, including manslaughter and criminal negligent homicide.
The three officers involved in the incident that preceded McClain’s death – Nathan Woodyard, Jason Rosenblatt and Randy Roedema – as well as Aurora Fire Rescue paramedics Jeremy Cooper and Peter Cichuniec, each face the counts of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide.
Sheneen McClain said at the time she was grateful for the indictment.
“There was no reason for him to be stopped. There was no reason for him to be brutalized, let alone injected with ketamine. Everything that happened from the time that they stopped him – the handcuffs should have been enough,” she said in an interview the day the indictment was announced. “If the police felt that he really did something wrong, the handcuffs should have been enough. But they went further. They brutalized him. They terrorized him. And then they posted a picture about it.”
In November, the city of Aurora announced a $15 million settlement with Sheneen McClain and Elijah McClain’s father, who will split the settlement.
That same week, Aurora officials and Attorney General Phil Weiser announced the terms of a consent decree the two sides reached to try to fix myriad issues within the police and fire departments that were identified in a September report following a 14-month investigation stemming from the death of McClain and other incidents.