September 22nd 2023.
At the Adams County District Court, prosecutors revealed a shocking account of what happened to Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old massage therapist, on the evening of August 24th, 2019. According to NBC News, when two officers, Randy Roedema and Jason Rosenblatt, stopped him on his way home from a convenience store, McClain pleaded seven times for help with the words "I can't breathe".
The prosecutor, Jonathan Bunge, showed the police body camera footage to the court and stated that despite McClain's words, the officers ignored him and called the paramedics to say that he was resisting and had 'crazy strength'. The paramedics then proceeded to inject McClain with a lethal dose of ketamine. Seven minutes after the injection, McClain had no pulse and was transported to the hospital. He passed away three days later.
Both Roedema and Rosenblatt have been charged with one count of manslaughter and one count of criminally negligent homicide and have both pleaded not guilty. Reid Elkus, Roedema's attorney, claimed that his client was not present when the stop occurred and that McClain didn't start resisting until Nathan Woodyard, another former Aurora police officer, placed a carotid hold on him. Harvey Steinberg, Rosenblatt's lawyer, added that his client was 'obligated' to help arrest McClain and had heard Roedema say McClain had 'gone for' one of the officers' guns.
In addition to the two police officers, Woodyard, the Aurora Fire Rescue paramedic Jeremy Cooper, and another Aurora Fire Rescue paramedic, Peter Cichuniec, are also charged with one count of manslaughter and one count of criminally negligent homicide and all have pleaded not guilty.
It was revealed that the officers stopped McClain because of a report of a suspicious person wearing a ski mask and waving his arms. McClain was wearing a mask and a long coat due to a blood condition, and was carrying a plastic bag with three cans of iced tea in his left hand and his phone in his right. In response to the incident, the city of Aurora has agreed to pay $15 million in the Elijah McClain case.
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