Part III: Elijah McClain “His Last Words” (HS LST WRDZ”), (2021), Music: Between The Clock and The Bed by Manic Street Preachers.
"I found the text containing the last words of Elijah McClain as a post on social media. Actually, I found several, nearly identical versions of it. The fragmented, poignant, often apologetic words were shocking and painful to read. The text demanded a strong, contrasting musical setting. I thought about the work of Manic Street Preachers, a Weish band noted for complex and varied cultural references in their lyrics and leftist political perspectives. I thought McClain’s text layered even more abjectly against the Manics song, ‘Between The Clock and The Bed.’ The song in the context of the video reads like a statement of complicity with the violence described, and its gorgeous lyrics and vocals, especially the presence of Green Garthside, an artist with a history of compelling fusions of political and theoretical rigor and impeccable pop aesthetics, adds a register of sublime sadness to the minimal text animation." - Tony Cokes
Elijah Jovan McClain (February 25, 1996 – August 30, 2019) was a 23-year-old African-American massage therapist from Aurora, Colorado, who died after being placed in a chokehold by police and being sedated by paramedics. On August 24, 2019, an Aurora citizen reported to police that McClain was wearing a ski mask and looked "sketchy", although the caller also indicated that he did not believe anyone was in danger, and that he believed McClain was unarmed. The three police officers who were involved in the incident, Nathan Woodyard, Jason Rosenblatt and Randy Roedema, said that their body cameras were knocked off during a struggle with McClain. McClain was forcibly held to the ground with his hands cuffed behind his back, after which an officer applied a chokehold and paramedics administered ketamine to McClain to sedate him. While being transported to the hospital McClain went into cardiac arrest. Three days after arriving at the hospital, he was declared brain dead, and was removed from life support on August 30. McClain's autopsy was inconclusive.
On June 24, 2020, after a social media outcry and Aurora lawmakers' requests for a new, third-party investigation into McClain's death, Colorado Governor Jared Polis announced his administration would reexamine the case. On June 29, photos that were taken in October 2019 which showed officers posing inappropriately and reenacting the carotid restraint used on McClain were discovered. One officer resigned and three were fired.
I can’t breathe. I have my ID right here. My name is Elijah McClain. That’s my house. I was just going home. I’m an introvert. I’m just different. That’s all. I’m so sorry. I have no gun. I don’t do that stuff. I don’t do any fighting. Why are you attacking me? I don’t even kill flies! I don’t eat meat! But I don’t judge people, I don’t judge people who do eat meat. Forgive me. All I was trying to do was become better. I will do it. I will do anything. Sacrifice my identity, I’ll do it. You all are phenomenal. You are beautiful and I love you. Try to forgive me. I’m a mood Gemini. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. Ow, that really hurt. You are all very strong. Teamwork makes the dream work. Oh, I’m sorry I wasn’t trying to do that. I just can’t breathe correctly. Elijah McClain, 30th August, 2019
Question 3: Cole Moore x Tony Cokes discuss Part III: Elijah McClain “His Last Words” (HS LST WRDZ”), (2021), Music: Between The Clock and The Bed by Manic Street Preachers.