Paramedic in Elijah McClain’s death sentenced to 5 years in prison

One of the paramedics who injected Elijah McClain with a lethal dose of ketamine was sentenced to five years in prison on Friday.

Peter Cichuniec and fellow paramedic Jeremy Cooper were found guilty of criminally negligent homicide in December for their role in McClain’s 2019 death. During his trial, Cichuniec was also found guilty of second-degree assault through the unlawful administration of drugs.

On Friday, Cichuniec broke down in tears, according to NBC News, and said it “destroys” him that he couldn’t tell McClain’s mom, Sheneen McClain, that her son was okay.

Cichuniec’s wife was also crying during the sentencing, and both his own sons gave remarks in the courtroom as well.

McClain, a 23-year-old Black man, was walking home in Aurora, Colo., in August 2019 when officers responded to a call of a “suspicious person” in a ski mask.

When officers arrived on the scene they tackled and forcibly restrained McClain. Paramedics injected him with ketamine, a powerful sedative. But when he was in the ambulance, McClain had no pulse. He went into cardiac arrest and died six days later.

According to the Adams County coroner, McClain died from “complications of ketamine administration following forcible restraint.”

In all, five first responders were criminally charged in connection with McClain’s death.

Randy Roedema was convicted of criminally negligent homicide and third-degree assault in October. In January, he was sentenced to one year and two months.

Officers Nathan Woodyard and Jason Rosenblatt were acquitted by juries.

But Aurora police had no justification for stopping or using lethal force in their confrontation with McClain, according to an independent probe.

The probe also found that the paramedics sedated McClain with ketamine “without conducting anything more than a brief visual observation.”

While grand jury indictment found Cooper was the medic on the call and was responsible for crew and patient safety on the night of McClain’s detainment, Cichuniec was the one who ordered the ketamine from the ambulance. Cooper injected McClain with the ketamine.

Cooper is scheduled to be sentenced in April.

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