Randy Roedema and Jason Rosenblatt are two of the five first responders indicted in connection with Elijah McClain's death
The trial of two Colorado police officers indicted in connection with the 2019 death of Elijah McClain, an unarmed Black man who died after being placed in a chokehold and injected with ketamine, is set to begin this week, court dockets indicate.
The trial is the first of three scheduled for five separate first responder defendants charged in connection with McClain’s death.
Randy Roedema, a suspended Aurora police officer, and Jason Rosenblatt, who was fired by the department in 2020, were both indicted on charges of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide as well as second-degree assault with intent to cause bodily injury and one count of a crime of violence related to the assault charge in 2021, PEOPLE previously reported.
Also charged in the November 2021 indictment was officer Nathan Woodyard, who allegedly put McClain in the chokehold, and paramedics Jeremy Cooper and Peter Cichuniec. Woodyard’s trial is scheduled to begin in October, while the two paramedics will face a jury beginning in late November, dockets indicate. All of the defendants have pleaded not guilty.
Police responded to a 911 call on Aug. 24, 2019 reporting a suspicious person. The officers stopped McClain, 23, as he was walking home from the grocery store, PEOPLE previously reported. Woodyard allegedly placed McClain in a carotid chokehold, according to the indictment, which caused McClain to briefly go unconscious.
Paramedics arrived on scene and subsequently injected McClain with ketamine, a powerful sedative, the indictment alleged. The amount was allegedly appropriate for someone who weighed more than 200 lbs., even though McClain weighed fewer than 150 lbs., according to the indictment.
McClain suffered cardiac arrest and died several days later.
Rosenblatt was fired from the department months after the incident, after allegedly responding “haha” to a text of a photo of three other Aurora police officers reenacting the chokehold, who were also fired, PEOPLE previously reported.
The city of Aurora settled a $15 million civil rights lawsuit regarding the case in November 2021.
To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:
Campaign Zero works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
ColorofChange.org works to make the government more responsive to racial disparities.
National Cares Mentoring Movement provides social and academic support to help Black youth succeed in college and beyond.
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