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3 Colorado Officers and 2 Paramedics Charged In The Death Of Elijah McClain

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by Reeko, Sep 1, 2021.

  1. Reeko

    Reeko Member
    Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2017
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    A Colorado grand jury indicted three police officers and two paramedics in the 2019 death of Elijah McClain, a young Black man who had been walking home when he was stopped by the police, put into a chokehold and injected with a powerful anesthetic, the attorney general of Colorado announced on Wednesday.

    Attorney General Phil Weiser, who had been named as a special prosecutor in the case, announced the 32-count indictment almost two years to the day after Mr. McClain’s death.

    “Our goal is to seek justice for Elijah McClain, for his family and friends, and for our state,” Mr. Weiser said at a news conference announcing the charges, the culmination of months of investigation, protests and calls for justice by Mr. McClain’s family and friends that were amplified by the nationwide protests after George Floyd’s murder.

    “We’re here today because Elijah McClain is not here, and he should be,” Mr. Weiser said.

    The five defendants involved in Mr. McClain’s death in Aurora, Colo., just east of Denver, will each face one charge of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide as well as a variety of assault charges.

    The three Aurora police officers charged in Mr. McClain’s death are Randy Roedema, Nathan Woodyard and Jason Rosenblatt, who was fired last year. The paramedics are Jeremy Cooper and Peter Cichuniec of the Aurora Fire Department. The city indicated that the officers and medics still with the department would be suspended without pay.

    While it is uncommon for police officers to face criminal charges for on-duty deaths, it is rarer still for firefighters or paramedics to be charged.

    The indictment unsealed on Wednesday accuses the paramedics of failing to follow medical protocols before and after they injected Mr. McClain with ketamine. Mr. McClain, 23, was already handcuffed when the medics arrived at the scene, and the indictment says they did not talk to Mr. McClain, check his vital signs or properly monitor him after giving him a powerful drug.

    An autopsy report by the Adams County coroner said that the cause of death was “undetermined,” and that it could have been a result of natural causes, a homicide related to the carotid hold or an accident.

    Mr. McClain’s mother, Sheneen McClain, said she had been praying for this day. In the two years since her son’s death, she has been fighting for answers and changes to Colorado’s laws by speaking out, giving interviews and testifying before state lawmakers. Anything, she said, to carry on the legacy of a son she raised as a single mother, sometimes barely getting by.

    “It was my job to make sure the whole world knew about him and how he was killed unjustly and through no fault of his own,” Ms. McClain said in an interview on Wednesday.

    Ms. McClain said she was told about the criminal charges a day before they were announced. At first, she said, the multiple counts of assault and homicide seemed like an abstract number. But the import, she said, has been gradually sinking in.

    “He never should’ve been killed,” she said. “Elijah believed in our humanity. He showed more humanity to those that killed him than the ones who were supposed to protect and serve him. He believed in our capacity to love one another.”

    The death of Mr. McClain, who was described by friends and family as a gentle person who loved animals and taught himself to play the violin, touched off protests across Denver and a flurry of investigations, lawsuits and demands for policing reforms.

    Mr. McClain had been walking home from a convenience store carrying a bag with cans of iced tea at 10:30 p.m. on Aug. 24, 2019, when he was stopped by three Aurora police officers responding to a 911 call about a suspicious person. Mr. McClain, who had been wearing a face mask and listening to music, told the officers he was simply walking home and asked the police to let go of him, according to an independent review of the incident.

    The officers grabbed Mr. McClain’s arms, pushed him against a wall and pulled him to the ground. They used what is called a “carotid hold” to subdue Mr. McClain — a potentially dangerous restraint to the neck that restricts blood to the brain.

    “I’m an introvert and I’m different,” Mr. McClain told the police, according to audio recordings from the stop. “I’m just different. That’s all. That’s all I was doing. I’m so sorry.”

    Mr. McClain was brought to a hospital unconscious and never recovered. He was taken off life support and died on Aug. 30, 2019.

    Lawyers for the officers and paramedics could not be immediately reached for comment. Shortly after the indictments were announced, the Aurora Police Association put out a statement defending the officers and saying there was no evidence the officers caused Mr. McClain’s death.

    “Our officers did nothing wrong,” the group said, adding, “The hysterical overreaction to this case has severely damaged the Police Department.”

    Chief Vanessa Wilson of the Aurora Police Department, who was appointed a year after Mr. McClain’s death, said the department would cooperate with the legal process. The state attorney general’s office is also conducting a broader investigation into practices at the Aurora Police Department.

    “This tragedy will forever be imprinted on our community,” Chief Wilson said in a statement.

    Mr. McClain was unarmed and had not been suspected of committing any crime. As officers used force to subdue him, Mr. McClain repeatedly apologized to the officers and said he could not breathe. “I can’t breathe, please!” he said at one point.

    An independent review of Mr. McClain’s death released this February issued a scathing catalog of errors committed by the officers and paramedics during the encounter and in the investigation that followed. Prosecutors in Adams County, Colo., declined to file criminal charges against the three officers involved in Mr. McClain’s death.

    Gov. Jared Polis appointed Mr. Weiser as a special prosecutor in June 2020 to investigate Mr. McClain’s death. The grand jury, which had been investigating the case since December, issued the indictments and concluded its work last Thursday, Mr. Weiser said.

    Qusair Mohamedbhai, a lawyer for Ms. McClain, hailed the charges, and said they reflected her tireless work to fight for justice for her son.

    “The results of her advocacy,” Mr. Mohamedbhai said, “resulted in law changes, and her constant love for Elijah has shown up today.”

  2. ThatBoyNick

    ThatBoyNick Member

    Dec 8, 2011
    Likes Received:
    The one area that I find myself leaning incredibly right-wing on is punishment for murders

    Parole eligible. with a maximum of 6 or 3 years is bull ****.
    FrontRunner and CCity Zero like this.
  3. Kim

    Kim Contributing Member

    Feb 17, 1999
    Likes Received:
    Of all the controversial police killings the last few years, this one hit me the hardest. We're supposed to protect our weak in society, but instead he was picked on by those cops. He had no weapons, was not accused of doing anything illegal, did nothing illegal, didn't hang out with criminals, and was assumed to be a threat because his cold anemic self had his ski mask on walking home. RIP Elijah.
    mdrowe00, Andre0087, ROCKSS and 4 others like this.
  4. CCity Zero

    CCity Zero Member

    Nov 28, 2014
    Likes Received:
    This is sad to read the follow up/updates. I mean just remembering/rereading the statements he made during his final moments, this is all a very sad reminder and awful.

    And Why the hell does it take 3 cops that all "conveniently" dropped the video cam footage to go up against an unarmed kid that was 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighed 140 pounds.... Like I know cops can have a stressful/very hard job depending on the situation, but this one wasn't a stressful one and if it was for them then they shouldn't be cops, they're cowards. They should have just stopped before getting physical. These garbage officers murdered him and they honestly should be facing murder charges at the minimum. None of this should have even happened, and I hope they can up the charges.
    mdrowe00, FrontRunner, ROCKSS and 2 others like this.
  5. fchowd0311

    fchowd0311 Contributing Member

    Apr 27, 2010
    Likes Received:
    My only hesitation with extreme punishment is the rate at which innocent people get convicted but that is mostly people of color and not cops who get that **** end of the stick.

    But ya, this is a pretty open and shut example though.
  6. cheke64

    cheke64 Member

    May 12, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Where's the video?
  7. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member

    Jul 24, 2007
    Likes Received:
    At the risk of sounding of defending the LEO and EMT here but intentional murder could be hard to prove here. The prosecutors probably feel that manslaughter and negligent homicide are charges that they are likely to be able to convict on and anything more risks getting an acquittal.
    mdrowe00 likes this.
  8. Astrodome

    Astrodome Member
    Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2015
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    Throw the book at them
  9. edwardc

    edwardc Member

    May 7, 2003
    Likes Received:
    They should all be put in jail for there actions.

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