Former Aurora, Colorado police officer Randy Roedema was found guilty of criminally negligent homicide and assault in the third degree in connection with the 2019 death of Elijah McClain. An Adams County jury delivered the verdict, while the other officer on trial, Jason Rosenblatt, was found not guilty.
Elijah McClain died in August 2019 after an encounter with the police. Roedema could face up to four years in prison, but these convictions do not carry mandatory prison time, and he may receive probation instead. The trial marked a significant development in a case that had been rekindled amid the national racial justice movement.
Prosecutors argued that Roedema and Rosenblatt were trained to handle the situation properly and failed to follow established protocols, resulting in McClain's death. They focused on negligence and training issues, emphasizing the officers' disregard for crucial signs of McClain's deteriorating health.
Attorney General Phil Weiser, who received the case in 2020, acknowledged that not everyone may agree with the verdict but emphasized the importance of respecting the jury's decision. The city of Aurora previously settled with McClain's family, paying $15 million in one of Colorado's largest civil settlement agreements for police violence.
Another officer, Nathan Woodyard, who was also involved in the incident, faces a second trial, while the paramedics who administered ketamine to McClain are scheduled to go on trial as co-defendants later in the year. The fact that these convictions may not lead to mandatory prison time underscores the urgent need for transformative change in our approach to policing and justice.
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