Aurora councilman trying to stop ketamine use during investigation into McClain case

Curtis Gardner, an at-large city councilman, will introduce the resolution in September.

Sheneen McClain holds up a fist during a gathering at the Montbello Rec Center in honor of her son, Elijah. Aug. 23, 2020.

Sheneen McClain holds up a fist during a gathering at the Montbello Rec Center in honor of her son, Elijah. Aug. 23, 2020.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

An Aurora city councilman wants the city’s paramedics to stop using ketamine while a city investigation into Elijah McClain’s death is ongoing.

Curtis Gardner, an at-large city councilman, will introduce the resolution in September that would halt all ketamine administrations outside of hospital settings by the city’s paramedics.

“I feel strongly that it’s not appropriate to use that drug while the review is ongoing,” Gardner said.

McClain died a year ago after being detained by police and administered ketamine by paramedics. There are seven ongoing government investigations into what happened to him, including two being conducted by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment into ketamine use by EMTs and paramedics.

Roughly 80 paramedic and ambulance companies — including Aurora Fire and Rescue — currently have special permission by state officials to administer ketamine to people showing  profound agitation or excited delirium — usually during interactions with law enforcement.

City councilors have hired both a lawyer and a doctor, so far, to probe the city’s current police and paramedic practices in wake of McClain’s death.  Gardner’s resolution would expire 30 days after the independent investigators finished their work, he said. He noted he mostly had support from other city councilors.

“I feel like it’s reasonable,” he said.

McClain’s family has filed a civil lawsuit against the city of Aurora and more than a dozen cops and paramedics.

 

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