The trial of two Colorado police officers involved in Elijah McClain’s death ended with the jury finding only one of the officers guilty.
According to ABC News, the jury hearing the case in Adams County, Colorado, has determined that Randy Roedema is guilty of criminally negligent homicide and assault in the third degree in McClain’s death. Jason Rosenblatt was found not guilty on charges of reckless manslaughter, assault in the second degree, and criminally negligent homicide.
Interim Chief of Police of Aurora, Colorado, Art Acevedo, released a statement after the verdict was announced.
“I know many have been waiting a long time for the involved parties to have their day in court,” his statement read. “As a nation, we must be committed to the rule of law. As such, we hold the American judicial process in high regard. We respect the verdict handed down by the jury and thank the members of the jury for their thoughtful deliberation and service. Due to the additional pending trials, the Aurora Police Department is precluded from further comment at this time.”
The Associated Press reports that Roedema faces up to three years in prison on the more serious homicide charge.
On the evening of Aug. 24, 2019, police officers restrained McClain on the ground after an unjustified stop. The police officers stopped him as he walked home in Aurora from a convenience store. McClain was wearing a ski mask due to a blood disorder that made him cold. The three police officers were responding to a report of someone wearing a ski mask and waving his arms.
Bodycam footage from the police officers revealed that they ordered McClain to stop. McClain told them that he was an introvert and asked that the police officers respect his boundaries. The officers grabbed McClain and threw him to the ground. As a struggle ensued, the officers placed McClain in a chokehold. The paramedics were called to the scene and injected McClain with ketamine to sedate him.
Less than 10 minutes later, McClain was unresponsive and went into cardiac arrest, according to a report released in 2019 by local prosecutor Dave Young. Medics revived McClain, but he was declared brain dead and taken off life support a week later.
A third police officer, Nathan Woodyard is being tried separately because he was first on the scene and applied the hold, according to a court order. Meanwhile, the EMTs at the scene, Jeremy Cooper and Lt. Peter Cichuniec will be tried together at a later date.
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