Police charged over McClain's death

·2-min read

Three US police officers and two paramedics have been charged over the death of Elijah McClain, a black man who was put in a chokehold and injected with a powerful sedative two years ago in suburban Denver.

The 23-year-old's death gained widespread attention during last year's protests against racial injustice and police brutality following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

McClain's pleading words that were captured on police body camera video - "I'm just different" - have been posted on signs at protests and spoken by celebrities who joined those calling for the prosecution of the officers who stopped McClain as he walked down the street in the city of Aurora after a 911 caller reported he looked suspicious.

Stories about McClain, a massage therapist family and friends described as a gentle and kind introvert, filled social media, including how he volunteered to play his violin to comfort cats at an animal shelter.

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said officers Randy Roedema, Nathan Woodyard and Jason Rosenblatt and fire department paramedic Jeremy Cooper and fire Lieutenant Peter Cichuniec were all charged with manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide on Wednesday.

Roedema and Rosenblatt also each face a charge of second-degree assault with intent to cause bodily injury and one count of a crime of violence related to the assault charge. Cooper and Cichuniec also each face three counts of second-degree assault.

The Associated Press has sought comment from lawyers for the defendants, and the Aurora Police Department said it was working on a statement.

"Our goal is to seek justice for Elijah McClain, for his family and his friends," Weiser said at a brief news conference, which he left without taking questions.

"He was a son, a nephew, a brother, a friend. When he died he was only 23 years old," Weiser said. "He had his whole life ahead of him. His family and his friends must now go on and live without him."

Elijah's mother, Sheneen McClain, "is overwhelmed emotionally by this news and appreciates the hard work of Phil Weiser and the rest of his team. There is not a day that goes by that she does not think of her son Elijah," according to a statement from her lawyer, Qusair Mohamedbhai.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting