They face charges related to assault, crime of violence, manslaughter, and criminally negligent homicide.
In August 2019, 23-year-old Elijah McClain was walking home from the store carrying a bag of ice teas while listening to music in his earbuds. Someone in the neighborhood called the police to report a suspicious man with a ski mask and when officers arrived they encountered McClain—a young man with autism who liked to play the violin for sheltered animals. The officers stopped McClain and when he seemed confused, they tried to physically restrain him.
One of the officers accused McClain of trying to grab another’s weapon as they threatened him with more physical force. McClain was placed in a carotid chokehold and reportedly briefly lost consciousness, but when he revived he continued to struggle for help. Emergency responders arrived and without checking vitals, diagnosed McClain with “excited delirium” before injecting him with ketamine meant for a 200-pound person. McClain was 140 pounds.
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Elijah McClain’s death prompted protests and calls for action, and this week it was shared that the three officers and two paramedics involved with his death have been indicted by a grand jury. “Aurora Police officers Randy Roedema and Nathan Woodyard, former officer Jason Rosenblatt and Aurora Fire Rescue paramedics Jeremy Cooper and Peter Cichuniec were each indicted on charges of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide as part of a 32-count indictment,” reports CNN.
Rosenblatt and Roedema were also tacked with “one count of assault and one count of crime of violence,” while “Cooper and Cichuniec were each indicted on three counts of assault and six counts of crime of violence.” Back in 2019, the District Attorney’s Office refused to bring charges against the group after prosecutors reportedly alleged that they couldn’t find evidence to prove that excessive force was unjustified in McClain’s death.
It has been suggested that authorities only took another look at this case after protesters and Black Lives Matters activists revisited McClain’s death and caused his story to go viral.