Meet Civil Rights Attorney Qusair Mohamedbhai Fighting for Justice for Elijah McClain Who Died in Denver Police Chokehold
- A partner at Rathod Mohamedbhai LLC, he is the son of Tanzanian immigrants of Gujarati origin, and he was born and raised in Canada.
Denver, Colorado-based civil rights attorney Qusair Mohamedbhai, a lawyer for Elijah McClain’s mother, Sheneen McClain, has hailed the charges against three officers and two paramedics in the 2019 death of the young Black man who was put in a chokehold while walking home from a convenience store. On Sept. 1, a grand jury charged each of the five defendants involved in Elijah McClain’s death in Aurora, Colorado, with one charge of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide as well as a variety of assault charges. Mohamedbhai told The New York Times that his client’s advocacy “resulted in law changes, and her constant love for Elijah has shown up today.”
Mohamedbhai is a partner at Rathod Mohamedbhai LLC. His practice is exclusively in the areas of plaintiff’s employment discrimination and constitutional civil rights litigation, and he advocates for the rights of employees in the workplace, and the civil rights of all individuals against governmental and institutional abuses of power.
In an interview with KOA Radio, Mohamedbhai said Sheneen McClain is just overwhelmed. “At the core of it you have to remember that she is a mother; she has emotions that we can’t even imagine. Her son died and it’s been two years of her fighting for this moment. It’s bitter-sweet.”
This is not Mohamedbhai’s first rodeo. The Edmonton, Canada-born and raised Mohamedbhai has represented clients in several of Aurora’s testiest legal entanglements in recent years. There were the Cherry Creek School District students who were sexually assaulted by a Prairie Middle School teacher. The case netted an $11.5 million settlement last year. Mohamedbhai represented the family of Naeschylus Carter-Vinzant, who was killed in March 2015 by Officer Paul Jerothe. The Denver Post reported then that “the family received $2.6 million for his death in the shooting where no criminal charges were filed.”
However, Mohamedbhai didn’t always want to be a lawyer. He told The Sentinel that he barely knew what lawyers exactly did until he entered law school. He attended the University of Alberta and received a bachelor’s degree in cellular biology. However, the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, “changed everything” for him. At the time, Mohamedbhai was pursuing his first year at the University of Wyoming College of Law. “That changed everything,” he said. “It dramatically changed the relationship of disenfranchised minorities in federal, state and local government and it quickly became a calling to try to preserve the civil rights of our community.”
Mohamedbhai’s parents immigrated to Canada from Tanzania. His mother worked as a secretary, and his father was a university facilities manager. He is fluent in Gujarati, Arabic, Urdu, English and French.
The 43-year-old lawyer is active in his community as well. The Sentinel says Mohamedbhai is “a familiar face” at the mosque on South Parker Road, “where he attends services and represents the Colorado Muslim Society on a pro bono basis.” He is often accompanied by his wife Andrea, who is also a founding partner at Rathod Mohamedbhai. He spends a considerable amount of time in Aurora. There, he’s “often perusing the aisles of Arash International Market on South Parker Road, or shuttling his two sons, ages 8 and 9, to the Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer Center on South Havana Street,” per The Sentinel.
Mohamedbhai told The Sentinel that he met his wife at a grocery store in Colorado in the mid-2000s. He recalled walking up to her and talking. “I know it sounds so traditional and so old-fashioned.”
Recognized as a Colorado “Super Lawyer” in the area of Plaintiff’s employment litigation from 2014-2016, Mohamedbahi is a two-time recipient of the CTLA’s Case of the Year Award. In addition to his practice, he teaches constitutional law and employment litigation at DU – Sturm College of Law and Metro State University.
I would be honored to have you to represent my Husband to be, who is being held in jail (for a year) with 100,000 bail (cash only) on (2) mistamenours . Derrick Coleman is sitting in the Downtown Detention Center with all of His constitutional due process rights being violated. Race, Prejudice, and a very Biase Judge has orchestrated this whole ordeal, trying to have Derrick Coleman institutionalized . Derrick has completed all of His time at the jail, with no write ups. Derrick’s Public Defender has filed every motion to have Derrick released , but to no avail. Derrick sleeps on a C=pap machine, and should only be on the Medical floor, but instead His life has been threatened by the Denver Police to place Him (Derrick) in General Population to have Him (Derrick) killed.