Wednesday, 6 Jul 2022

Elijah McClain’s mother to attend White House ceremony as Biden signs order on police reform

President Joe Biden plans to sign an executive order on policing Wednesday, the second anniversary of George Floyd’s death, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Sheneen McClain, the mother of Elijah McClain, who died after being violently arrested by Aurora Police Department officers in August 2019, will be at the White House for the signing. She will be joined by one of her attorneys, Qusair Mohamedbhai of the Rathod Mohamedbhai law firm in Denver.

The presidential order would require federal law enforcement to review and revise policies on use of force, and it would restrict the flow of surplus military equipment to local police. In addition, the order would encourage limitations on chokeholds and no-knock warrants by attaching strings to federal funding.

The people who described the order spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of any public announcement. Relatives of Floyd, whose killing by Minneapolis police sparked nationwide protests, also are expected to be in attendance. During those 2020 police protests, people chanted Floyd’s and Elijah McClain’s names and carried banners with their names as they decried the men’s deaths at the hands of police.

McClain was stopped by Aurora police officers on his way home from buying tea at a convenience store after someone called to report a man acting strange.

McClain asked why he was being stopped and police quickly put their hands on him, taking the 23-year-old to the ground and putting him in a carotid control hold as he begged them to stop. Paramedics injected McClain with ketamine, a heavy sedative. He blacked out and went into cardiac arrest on the way to a hospital, where he died a few days later.

His last words, “My name’s Elijah McClain,” became a rallying cry during the protests.

Sheneen McClain has been protective of her son’s name and image and often declines invitations to participate in events in his honor. This time, though, she agreed to travel to Washington, D.C., after being invited by the White House, said Siddartha Rathod, one of her attorneys.

Biden’s order reflects a less extensive approach than Biden originally wanted because Congress was unable to agree on legislation that would have increased oversight of law enforcement. It is the result of months of negotiations among White House officials, civil rights groups and police organizations.

The administration began working on executive action after bipartisan talks to pass police reform legislation in Congress stalled last year.

“We know full well that an executive order cannot address America’s policing crisis the same way Congress has the ability to, but we’ve got to do everything we can,” said a statement from NAACP President Derrick Johnson.

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