Colorado authorities are taking a second crack at investigating the death of Elijah McClain, who died last year after being stopped by police, and put into a chokehold.
Governor Jared Polis appointed a special prosecutor Thursday to reopen the inquiry into Elijah's death and potentially prosecute the cops who were involved.
As you've probably read ... Elijah died back in August 2019 after police stopped him on a street in suburban Denver. His story has gone viral this week, and become a rallying cry for protests against police brutality and systemic racism.
Mari Newman -- the attorney for Elijah's family -- tells TMZ ... "It shouldn't take a petition signed by millions to hold police accountable when they kill an innocent black man."
The Governor is putting state Attorney General Phil Weiser on the case and Polis says, "Elijah McClain should be alive today, and we owe it to his family to take this step and elevate the pursuit of justice in his name to a statewide concern."
Polis says he was moved to act in part because of Elijah's mother, who described her son as a "responsible and curious child ... who could inspire the darkest soul."
Aurora PD officers stopped Elijah on August 24, 2019, while responding to a call about a suspicious person walking the streets wearing a ski mask and waving his arms. His family says he commonly wore the mask to keep warm ... due to his anemia.
Cops say Elijah refused to stop walking down the street and resisted when police confronted him and attempted to place him in custody. One of the cops placed Elijah in a chokehold.
Body-camera footage of the incident shows Elijah telling the cops, "Let go of me. I am an introvert. Please respect the boundaries that I am speaking." His words are now popping up on social media posts demanding justice.
Cops reportedly kept Elijah on the ground for 15 minutes, and then paramedics gave him a sedative. Elijah suffered cardiac arrest on the way to a hospital and was declared brain dead on Aug. 27 -- and he was taken off life support a few days later.