Elijah McClain Should Be Alive

Elijah McClain would be alive today if it weren’t for what seems to be the police “ABC’s” in how they treat Black people, with aggression, bias, and cruelty. An independent investigation into the death of Elijah McClain reveals that Aurora police did not have to stop Elijah McClain, frisk Elijah McClain, or choke Elijah McClain.

Elijah McClain was innocent, there was nothing he could have done or said to police to avoid police aggression, bias, and cruelty. No matter what we do, police kill us. Walking gets us killed. Sleeping in our bed gets us killed. Talking gets us killed. Sitting in our apartment gets us killed. Being in our car gets us killed. Breathing gets us killed. Being Black gets us killed.

Black children receive the “talk” and Black parents give the “talk.” There are the shoulda, woulda, coulda’s, as to how Black folks try to avoid being killed by police, and then there’s what police do. Look at what police did to Elijah McClain.

An excerpt from the independent investigation reads as follows:

‘The audio of the incident records Mr. McClain crying out in pain, apologizing, vomiting, and at times sounding incoherent. His words were apologetic and confused, not angry or threatening. He became increasingly plaintive and desperate as he struggled to breathe. He told officers he had his ID, that his name was Elijah McClain, and that “I was just going home…I’m an introvert and I’m different. Going home…I’m just different. I’m just different. That’s all. That’s all I was doing. I’m so sorry.” As Mr. McClain said this, one of the officers described him by radio to a dispatcher as “still fighting.” Mr. McClain continued, saying he opposed violence, begged “forgive me,” and said “you all are phenomenal, you are beautiful. Forgive me.” As the officers waited for paramedics to arrive, Mr. McClain vomited and can be heard continually complaining about the pain and his difficulty breathing, saying “Ow. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry,” “Ow, that really hurt. You guys are too strong,” and “It’s just that I can’t breathe correctly because …” as his voice trailed off. For long periods of time, only occasional grunts and moans but no words can be heard from Mr. McClain.’

Woulda-Coulda-Shoulda by Shel Silverstein

All the Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas
Layin’ in the sun,
Talkin’ ’bout the things
They woulda coulda shoulda done…
But those Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas
All ran away and hid
From one little Did.

Written by

Tami Warren is the writer and creator of Namaste Negro. She lives life with daily doses of humor in Denver, Colorado. Tami earned a B.A. in Sociology, from the University of Colorado. Tami keeps it high, in the Mile High City. Humor is healthy, so cachinnate. Compassion and comedy are not required, but they are extremely helpful. We are all connected on this planet. So, we may as well greet each other and say, Namaste. Hate is heavy, be light.

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