The senseless death of 23-year old Elijah McClain on August 2h, 2019 sent shockwaves throughout the country after it happened because it was another Black man dying at the hands of law enforcement. But a ruling yesterday may bring about much-needed justice in the case.
On Wednesday (September 1st), Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser announced that a grand jury indicted Aurora Police officers Randy Roedema and Nathan Woodyard, former officer Jason Rosenblatt and Aurora Fire Rescue paramedics Jeremy Cooper and Peter Cichuniec for criminally negligent homicide and manslaughter. Cooper and Cichuniec received additional indictments on three counts of assault along with six counts of crime of violence, while Roedema and Rosenblatt received additional indictments of one count of assault and crime of violence. “We’re here today because Elijah McClain is not here and he should be,” Weiser said at the press conference.
Elijah McClain was a gentle soul who loved animals and worked as a massage therapist. The news of his death added more outrage to the global protests decrying the killings of Black people by law enforcement which surged last year. Former Adams County District Attorney Dave Young had declined to bring charges at the time, claiming prosecutors lacked evidence. In response to protests and petitions, Governor Jared Polls appointed Weiser as special prosecutor and opened a grand jury investigation at the beginning of this year. In a statement, McClain’s father said in response to the indictments: “Nothing will bring back my son, but I am thankful that his killers will finally be held accountable.”
The indictments come after Weiser and the grand jury consulted a different forensic pathologist than the one utilized by Young during the initial investigation. The 32-count indictment found that McClain’s death was a homicide “following the acute Ketamine administration during violent subdual and restrain by law enforcement and response personnel.”