TWO ELIJAHS TWO KETAMINE INJECTIONS
Two strangers-with the same first name,
and a scary story about ketamine in policing
Elijah McKnight admits he was drunk.
The 25-year-old says he’d had a fifth of Jim Beam with a buddy before passing out on his way home on a sidewalk just outside Aurora, Colorado.
That is where sheriff’s deputies found him.
They nudged him awake and the conversation was calm for the first several minutes.
Deputies told him they were just checking to see if he was all right.
But the encounter ended with McKnight on life support after being injected with a high dose of a drug called ketamine.
“I was out cold for three days on life support,” he said. “My family didn’t know where I was.”
When McKnight finally woke up in an Aurora hospital, he couldn’t believe what he was seeing on the news.
His eyes widened when he saw a story about another young black man named Elijah.
Elijah McClain was in a coma and near death after a police encounter that also involved a ketamine injection
The same drug McKnight had been given before everything went dark.
The two incidents happened just 10 miles apart and within days of each other, but involved different law enforcement and EMT agencies.
Elijah McKnight stands in front of a mural to Elijah McClain. Both encountered law officers and were injected with ketamine.
“I’m thankful to be alive,” McKnight said.
But he is convinced the use of ketamine in police calls is being abused when there is no medical need for it.
“They are being lazy. I guess they didn’t want to deal with a drunk asshole,” he said.
McKnight is not alone in questioning whether police are influencing paramedics to use the powerful tranquilizer that requires hospitalization for nonmedical reasons.
CNN has found ongoing investigations in multiple states regarding emergency responders’ use of the fast-acting drug to tranquilize people against their will.
In some places, such as Colorado and Minneapolis, the use of the drug by paramedics rose sharply in recent years.
Outrage over its use has motivated a city council member in Aurora, Colorado,
To propose a temporary ban on the administration of the drug by first responders.
In Minneapolis, the police department decided to create a new policy for its officers in 2018.
Elijah McClain died days after his encounter with police.
McClain’s fatal encounter
Four days after McKnight was taken to hospital, McClain, 23, was walking home from the store at 10:30 pm on August 24, 2019.
A resident called Aurora police, saying McClain seemed suspicious because he was moving his hands around and wearing a ski mask in the summer.
McClain’s family says he had a blood condition that would make him feel cold.
As police approached, the violin player and masseur was listening to music through headphones.
When an officer touched him, he appears startled.
“Please respect the boundaries that I am speaking,” McClain says on body camera video.
Everything happens so fast. There is a struggle when officers decide to arrest him.
The slight, 140-pound McClain is cuffed and on his stomach. He says he can’t breathe. Two officers are on him.
He is put in a chokehold at least once.
He vomits. At one point, an officer says, “Whatever he’s on, he has incredible strength … yeah, crazy strength.”
It turns out he was not “on” any illegal drugs. According to the autopsy, none were found in his system.
Paramedics are on the scene by now; they administer 500 milligrams of ketamine, nearly twice the recommended dose.
“I’ve been in practice 30 years and…….
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