What do you know about the death of Elijah McClain and the cases against police and paramedics


DENVER (AP) — Opening statements are scheduled Tuesday in the trial of a police officer charged in the death of a Black man who was pinned to the neck and paramedics injected with the sedative ketamine after he was stopped while returning to his suburban Denver home in 2019.

The presentations in the trial of aurora officer nathan woodyard come just days after jurors were handed a Division rule against two other officers charged in the death of Elijah McClain. One of these officers was convicted and the other was acquitted of the charges.

Paramedics Jeremy Cooper and Lt. Peter Cichonek are scheduled to stand trial in the case next month.

Here’s what you need to know about McClain’s death:

Why was only one officer convicted in the first trial?

MacLean’s death was one of several cases reexamined after MacLean’s death May 2020, George Floyd was killed by policeHis name became a rallying cry in the social justice protests that followed.

A jury convicted Aurora Officer Randy Ruedema on Thursday of criminally negligent homicide and third-degree assault but acquitted Officer Jason Rosenblatt of all charges.

The officers faced similar charges, and the jury did not explain its decisions. During the trial, Rosenblatt’s lawyers pointed out that he was not near McClain when he was injected with ketamine.

Prosecutors alleged that Rosenblatt grabbed McClain’s legs while he was on the ground before Rosenblatt moved away, while Ruedema grabbed McClain’s shoulder and back. Ruedema and another officer who has not been charged restrained McClain while paramedics administered ketamine.

Rwedema was the senior of the two officers. He was often visible in body camera footage shown to jurors. At times, he seemed to be directing others on what to do.

Rosenblatt had been on the force for only two years when McClain died. He was fired in 2020 because he disparaged other officers’ reenactments From the neck knot.

Former Colorado Attorney General George Brauchler said the jury appeared deliberate in that it distinguished the actions of the two officers and rejected prosecutors’ suggestion that there was some collusion between them.

Brauchler, who prosecuted The 2012 Colorado theater shooting. He said it appears the jury found there was sufficient medical evidence to hold Ruedema liable for McClain’s death. But he pointed out that they convicted him of the least serious charges brought against them.

Ruedema could get anywhere from probation to three years in prison when he is sentenced on Jan. 5.

Brauchler said Judge Mark Warner will likely take into account that Roedema was convicted of committing a crime while in uniform and consider what kind of message his sentence will send.

Why did the police stop McClain?

Woodyard was the first of three officers to approach the 23-year-old massage therapist after a 911 caller said McClain looked suspicious. Woodyard also placed McClain in a neck grip, rendering him temporarily unconscious after another officer said McClain had reached for one of their guns.

Paramedics later injected McClain with an overdose of the powerful sedative ketamine. He was declared dead three days later.

The 911 caller reported that McClain, who was wearing headphones and listening to music, appeared “indistinct” and was waving his arms as he walked home from a convenience store in Aurora on The night of August 24, 2019. McClain was often cold and wore a mask and runner jacket despite the warm weather, prosecutors said in the indictment.

Within 10 seconds, Woodyard had his hands on McLean and turned him around. As McLean tried to escape his grasp, Woodyard said: “Calm down, or I’m going to have to change this situation.”

The confrontation quickly escalated, as officers tackled McClain to the ground and placed him on the ground Neck knotAnd pressure on his carotid artery.

Did ketamine or neck kill McLean?

The neck knot, called a carotid grip, restricts blood flow to a person’s brain, rendering them temporarily unconscious. Several states, including Colorado, have passed restrictions on neck restraints since Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis.

It was McLean Stay grounded for 15 minutes when paramedics gave him 500 milligrams of ketamine. Dr. Stephen Sena, the forensic pathologist who performed McClain’s autopsy, said he weighed 140 pounds (64 kilograms) but had received a higher dose of ketamine than recommended for someone his size. Cena eventually determined that McClain died of complications from ketamine, stating that it occurred after forced restraint. But he was unable to determine whether the death was caused by murder or an accident. He testified at the first trial that he was unable to conclude whether the officers’ actions contributed to this.

Pulmonologist David Bother testified that McClain vomited repeatedly and inhaled the vomit, making breathing difficult. Even before the ketamine injection, McClain’s health had deteriorated to the point where he deserved to stay in the intensive care unit, he said.

Why were the officers charged?

The prosecutor initially decided not to file charges in McClain’s death largely because the initial autopsy did not determine exactly how he died.

Following protests over Floyd’s death, Democratic Governor Jared Polis ordered the state’s attorney general to reinvestigate McClain’s case. The three officers and two paramedics were indicted by a grand jury in 2021. Sena said he changed the autopsy results to blame ketamine in 2021 after looking at body camera footage.


Brown reported from Billings, Montana.

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