A statewide grand jury returned a 32-count indictment against five people, including two current Aurora police officers and one former officer, more than two years after Elijah McClain was killed by Aurora police officers.
Last Thursday, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser announced the findings of the indictment. Those indicted include the following persons:
Aurora Fire Rescue paramedic Lt. Peter Cichuniec
Aurora Fire Rescue paramedic Jeremy Cooper
Current Aurora officer Randy Roedema
Current Aurora officer Nathan Woodyard
Former Aurora officer Jason Rosenblatt
Elijah McClain: Manslaughter and Criminally Negligent Homicide
According to the city, all four of the current employees have been placed on unpaid leave. one count of manslaughter and one count of criminally negligent homicide.
Rosenblatt and Roedema face an additional charge of second-degree assault with intent to cause bodily injury and one count of a crime of violence, which is a sentencing enhancement associated with the assault charge.
Officers who Murdered McClain Face Multiple Charges
Cooper and Cichuniec are also charged with second-degree assault with the intent to cause serious bodily injury. The second charge is for “recklessly” causing injury with a deadly weapon, which is related to the use of ketamine. Furthermore, both of these assault charges come with a sentencing enhancement.
Wednesday afternoon, Woodward, Rosenblatt, Cichuniec, and Cooper turned themselves into the Glendale Police Department (GPD). Police say they were processed for their warrants, posted bonds, and were released.
McClain was Reported as “Suspicious” by an Observer
Wednesday evening, Roedema surrendered to the GPD. The police said he was also processed, posted bond, and released. Officers from the Aurora Police Department (APD) stopped McClain on Aug. 24, 2019, after he returned from a convenience store where he purchased a drink. In three days, on Aug. 27, he died in a hospital, according to Adams County’s coroner.
The officers threw McClain to the ground and put him in a carotid hold, while paramedics administered 500 mg of ketamine to sedate him.
In his indictment, Roedema told investigators that in Aurora, people “tend to control it before it needs to be controlled.” He also told investigators he “cranked pretty hard” on McClain’s shoulder and heard it pop three times, the indictment says.
Claims That Elijah McClain Reached for an Officer’s Gun Were Not Confirmed
Additionally, Roedema told Rosenblatt and Woodyard that McClain had reached for “your gun”, none of whom knew which gun Roedema was referring to, according to the indictment. He later said he was talking about Rosenblatt’s weapon, but Rosenblatt said he did not feel any contact with his service weapon.
Ketamine: Medics Overestimated Elijah McClains Weight by over 70 Pounds
During the confrontation, Woodyard “remained on top of him [McClain] and continued to hold him to the ground despite pleas that he could not breathe,” the indictment says. McClain’s ketamine dose was adjusted based on an incorrect assumption about McClain’s weight. The dose was appropriate for the person who weighed 77 pounds more.
According to the indictment, the two “did not properly monitor” McClain after the drug was administered, which led to “multiple predictable complications.”
McClain’s death has prompted the Aurora city council to ban the use of ketamine until the investigation is complete.
McClain’s death has made international headlines as Black Lives Matter protesters across the country call for justice. The now-former 17th Judicial District Attorney refused to charge any of the policemen involved in the incident.
McClain’s death was the subject of several investigations, including the AG’s. Earlier this year, an independent panel released a report after its own investigation.