On Aug. 24, 2019, 23-year-old Colorado resident Elijah McClain walked to the store to buy an iced tea for his brother. Someone called 911 to report a suspicious person. McClain, unaware that his existence made him suspicious, began walking home when he was stopped by police. When McClain continued walking, police jumped him, sending him to the ground. McClain’s pleading words with police, captured on a police body camera, were: “I’m just different.”
They put him in chokehold until paramedics arrived and injected him with 500 mg of ketamine.
McClain suffered cardiac arrest in the ambulance on his way to the hospital riding alongside those who injected the powerful sedative into his system. He would be declared brain dead. He was taken off life support weeks later and died Aug. 30, 2019.
Being Black is not a crime.
Buying iced tea is not a crime.
Looking suspicious is not a crime.
Walking away from a cop that has not declared that you are being detained is not a crime.
Now “three Aurora police officers and two paramedics will face criminal charges, including manslaughter,” in connection with McClain’s death, the Denver Post reports.
“A state grand jury indicted Aurora police officers Nathan Woodyard and Randy Roedema, former officer Jason Rosenblatt and paramedics Jeremy Cooper and Lt. Peter Cichuniec on 32 counts, according to an indictment made public Wednesday by Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser,” according to the Denver Post.
Officers Roedema, Woodyard and Rosenblatt and fire department paramedic Cooper and Cichuniec “were all charged with manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. Roedema and Rosenblatt also each face a charge of second-degree assault with intent to cause bodily injury and one count of a crime of violence related to the assault charge. Cooper and Cichuniec also each face three counts of second-degree assault,” ABC News reports.
The Post notes that it’s been two years since McClain was killed and this is the first time that the officers and paramedics involved have faced any punishment for their actions.
McClain’s mother Sheneen and thousands across the country have called for those involved in her son’s death to face criminal charges.
“Not a day has gone by that she hasn’t sought justice for her son,” Sheneen McClain’s attorney Qusair Mohamedbhai told the Post.
“Our goal is to seek justice for Elijah McClain, for his family and his friends,” Weiser said at a brief news conference, ABC News reports.
“He was a son, a nephew, a brother, a friend. When he died he was only 23 years old,” Weiser said. “He had his whole life ahead of him. His family and his friends must now go on and live without him.”