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After the public sparked outrage over Trayvon Martin’s death in 2012, another innocent young Black man, Elijah McClain, was soon murdered by Colorado officials.
Although the death of McClain occurred seven years later, it revealed the deeper police brutality within America, leading to the Black Lives Matter movement and protests throughout the country.
McClain died in 2019, following police officials restraining him in a chokehold.
On August 24, he was walking home from a convenience store when an individual dialed 911, thinking McClain looked suspicious in a ski mask. Unaware of his blood condition, the individual presumed McClain to be dangerous, when in actuality the ski mask assisted with his anemia.
Shortly after the call was made, police arrived at the scene and instructed McClain to stop because he was “being suspicious”. The video footage captures McClain telling officials that he is going home and he has “a right to go where [he’s] going.”
Officials attempted to arrest McClain, but struggled to contain him then placed him to the ground with a carotid hold.
Fifteen minutes later, medical staff arrived, injecting McClain with 500mg of ketamine to “minimize time struggling.”
Unfortunately, McClain went into cardiac arrest on his way to the hospital. He passed away a few days after.
The two paramedics and three officers are being tried in three different trials.
All are being charged in the death of Elijah McClain.
The initial report of McClain’s death was first ruled as “undetermined”. However, the revised autopsy report stated it was due to “complications of ketamine administration following forcible restraint.”
In the first trial that was in connection with McClain’s death, officer Randy Rowena was found guilty of criminally negligent homicide and assault in the third degree.
While Rowena was found guilty, Jason Rosenblatt, another official involved, was found not guilty of charges of reckless manslaughter, assault in the second degree, and criminally negligent homicide.
The split verdict upset McClain’s mother, who entered the courtroom with a raised fist.
In expressing her frustration over the outcome with ABC News, she stated, “America needs to start telling the truth about its history and changing the way it treats all the people that pay into its system of control.”
On October 17, the second trial associated with McClain began. The first trial started in August 2019 for Nathan Woodward. He was the first police officer at the scene and the one who put McClain in the chokehold.
Woodward pleaded not guilty to both charges, manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide.
General Ann Joyce, Assistant Attorney, argued that Woodyard’s actions resulted in McClain’s death and violated his police training. In the previous trial, McClain had difficulty breathing, choking on his own vomit during restrainment.
The death of Elijah McClain is about “indifference” and “suffering”, says mother
Joyce stated, “This trial is about the defendant and his teammates doing nothing to help Elijah McClain. This trial is about their continued callousness and indifference to Mr. McClain’s suffering.”
Magdalena Downing, Woodyard’s attorney, argued that Woodward was not responsible for the death of McClain.
She instead blamed it on the ketamine distributed by EMT personnel. Standing by her client, Downing stated, “Let me be clear, someone is guilty… They’re not here. It’s not Nathan.”