A grand jury has charged three police officers and two paramedics over the death of Elijah McClain.
On Wednesday, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser announced the indictment of Aurora police officers Randy Rodema and Nathan Woodyard, as well as former officer Rosenblatt. He also revealed that the grand jury had decided to charge responding paramedics Jeremy Cooper and Peter Cichuniec as well.
All five face charges of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. Additionally, Rosenblatt and Roedema were each charged with one count of assault and one count of crime of violence, while both paramedics were individually indicted on three counts and six counts of crime of violence.
Back in August 2019, McClain — a 23-year-old Black man — was walking home from a store when he was stopped by officers, who placed him in a since-banned carotid chokehold. According to the indictment, he was then handcuffed and injected with a dosage of ketamine meant for a 200-pound person, despite weighing only 143 pounds. It also stated that the paramedics did not follow protocol by checking his vitals or properly monitoring him after administering the ketamine.
The New York Times reported that the charges come after months of investigation following Colorado Governor Jared Polis' decision to re-examine the case given the renewed interest given the Black Lives Matter movement. Initially, Adams County District Attorney Dave Young declined to charge the officers due to an alleged lack of evidence.
McClain's mother later went on to respond to the news by reiterating to the publication that her son was "killed unjustly and through no fault of his own."
"He never should've been killed," Sheneen McClain said. "Elijah believed in our humanity. He showed more humanity to those that killed him than the ones who were supposed to protect and serve him. He believed in our capacity to love one another."
Photo via Getty / Andy Cross / MediaNewsGroup / The Denver Post