By Andy Rose, CNN
The autopsy report for Elijah McClain, an unarmed Black man who died after a struggle with police in Colorado, was changed in response to new evidence from a grand jury investigation, Adams County Chief Coroner Monica Broncucia-Jordan confirmed on Friday.
However, she said she cannot release the amended report because of a court order and oath she was required to take in January 2021, which bars her from revealing any information from the grand jury.
“The Attorney General’s Office has informed me that the Amended Autopsy Report therefore contains confidential information that is covered by the Court’s Order and my Oath,” Broncucia-Jordan said in a statement.
In August 2019, McClain, who was 23, was walking home from a store when he was apprehended by Aurora police officers responding to a “suspicious person” call. Police said McClain had resisted, and he was placed into a carotid hold. Paramedics diagnosed McClain with “excited delirium” and administered the powerful sedative ketamine. He suffered a heart attack on the way to the hospital. Three days later, he was declared brain dead.
The original autopsy report listed the cause of McClain’s death as “undetermined.” The coroner’s office has not said when it received evidence that prompted a change to the autopsy, and it’s unclear when the autopsy report was amended.
Three Aurora police officers and two paramedics are facing charges of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. In 2021, the city settled a civil rights lawsuit with the McClain family for $15 million, and the Aurora police and fire departments agreed to a consent decree to address a pattern of racial bias found by a state investigation.
Broncucia-Jordan says her “hands are tied” by the judge’s order, but she hopes to be able to release the report in the future. “Once I have authorization from that Court to release the Autopsy Report, I will gladly do so,” she said in the statement.
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