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For Immediate Release


Rowhan Baptiste,

Press Release

Charges in Elijah Mcclain’s Death Are a First Step Toward Accountability—But This Is Not Justice


Scott Roberts, Senior Director of Criminal Justice and Democracy Campaigns at Color Of Change, issued this statement following the indictment of three Colorado police officers and two paramedics for killing Elijah McClain:

“Yesterday’s indictment is not justice; it’s the first step toward accountability for the officers and paramedics who murdered Elijah McClain. Almost exactly two years ago, these individuals targeted, drugged, and brutalized Elijah in an unconscionable act of anti-Black violence. After taking Elijah’s life, these officers and medics have been able to remain at home with their families and avoid the consequences of their actions while Elijah’s loved ones grieved their tremendous loss. The injustice has already been done to Elijah, his family, and his community.

“Had it not been for the police’s chronic use of fake medical conditions to justify violence, Elijah might still be alive today. For years, local police departments have relied on fake diagnoses like ‘excited delirium’ and ‘spontaneous delirium’ to trigger unnecessary and often deadly force -- particularly against Black people. In this case, Aurora officers and medics attacked and sedated Elijah because of so-called excited delirium; George Floyd and Daniel Prude’s killers used the same terminology. These incidents reveal the tragic consequences of entrusting police, who are completely unqualified to treat and diagnose mental illness, with the responsibility of responding to mental health crises. We must redefine public safety so that health professionals and other trained experts are the first line of response during community crises -- not police. 

“As the Colorado attorney general’s office pursues charges against these individuals, the health community can take a stand to ensure that medical terminology is left to actual doctors. The World Health Organization, the American Medical Association, and other leading health groups must denounce the use of ‘excited delirium’ to justify senseless police violence.”


Color Of Change is the nation’s largest online racial justice organization. We help people respond effectively to injustice in the world around us. As a national online force driven by over one million members, we move decision-makers in corporations and government to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people in America.

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