Former #Colorado police officer Randy Roedema was sentenced to 14 months in jail and 4 years of probation for the 2019 death of #ElijahMcClain, a Black man subdued by police and injected with ketamine. Roedema was convicted of criminally negligent homicide and assault.
Another officer, Jason Rosenblatt, was acquitted in the same trial. The incident began when officers responded to a report of a "suspicious person." McClain, a massage therapist and musician, was forcefully subdued and injected with ketamine, leading to his death.
The case, initially overlooked, gained attention amid Black Lives Matter protests, leading to a reexamination and the indictment of three officers and two paramedics. The third officer, Nathan Woodyard, was acquitted, and the two paramedics were convicted with sentencing pending. The case highlights issues in police conduct and the use of force.
On August 24, 2019, Elijah McClain, unarmed and wearing a ski mask due to his anemia, was stopped by #police while returning from a store after a 911 call reported a "sketchy" person. Police confronted McClain, claiming their right to stop him for appearing suspicious. Body camera footage captured McClain insisting on his right to proceed home.
Officer Woodyard applied a carotid hold and, with officers Roedema and Rosenblatt, forced McClain to the ground, continuing to restrain him. McClain struggled to breathe and choked on his vomit during the restraint, as noted by prosecutor Jonathan Bunge during the trial.
In a statement following the convictions of Peter Cichuniec and Jeremy Cooper, Elijah's mother Sheenen McClain said that three convictions out of five "isn't justice and that the only thing the convictions serve is a very small acknowledgment for accountability in the justice system."