A judge has found evidence strong enough to push forward the cases against the officers who killed Elijah McClain, according to ABC News. Attorneys for the five men previously asked the judge to review the cases doubting there was enough evidence to pursue charges. Little did they know the outcome would not be in their favor.
Last year, a grand jury indicted Peter Cichuniec, Jeremy Cooper, Nathan Woodyard, Randy Roedema and Jason Rosenblatt on 32 counts in connection with McClain’s death, including manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. In 2019, McClain died in police custody after Aurora officers placed him in a carotid control hold and paramedics gave him an overdose of ketamine as they tried to detain him. He surrendered and signaled that he couldn’t breathe, reports say.
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Loew reviewed thousands of pages of testimony and evidence and on Monday found that there was enough evidence for the cases to proceed.
“After reviewing the grand jury materials, the court finds, when viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the people and with all inferences in favor of the prosecution, there is sufficient evidence to establish probable cause for each of the counts listed in the grand jury indictment filed with the court on Sept. 1, 2022,” Loew wrote in her order.
Though the city of Aurora, Colo. agreed to pay McClain’s family $15 million in a settlement, Judge Loew’s decision feels more like justice to them. McClain’s mother, Iris Halpern, said criminal accountability was her main goal, via ABC News.
“We’ve been standing by the family throughout the case and the pain they’ve suffered. These are real humans with loved ones and this issue impacts not only the victim, but those around them in the aftermath,” said Halpern.
The Aurora Police Association Board of Directors insisted the officers didn’t cause Elijah’s death and the “overreaction” to the case damaged the police department, according to a statement via ABC. After seeing the body camera footage of the incident, our reactions are justified. Reports say the five defendants are expected to be arraigned Aug. 12.