The two paramedics and three police officers charged with the 2019 death of Elijah McClain made their first appearance in court.
According to The Denver Post, the five men — Aurora police officers Randy Roedema and Nathan Woodyard, former cop Jason Rosenblatt and paramedics Peter Cichuniec and Jeremy Cooper — all quickly appeared before Adams County District Court Judge Priscilla Loew on Monday (Nov. 1) and waived the right to have their charges rights read aloud to them. Woodyard, Roedema and Rosenblatt are charged with second-degree assault with intent to cause bodily injury and one count of a crime of violence.
Both paramedics are charged with second-degree assault with intent to cause bodily injury, second-degree assault for recklessly causing serious bodily injury by means of a deadly weapon and second-degree assault for a purpose other than lawful medical or therapeutic treatment. Each of their assault charges also carries two counts of crimes of violence.
McClain’s mother sat in the courtroom during the hearing, which was the first time she was in the same room as the men accused of killing her son. “The main thought that I had was can they even look at me? They couldn’t,” Sheneen McClain said. “They can’t look the mother in the eye. They should all be ashamed of themselves.”
As REVOLT previously reported, McClain died on Aug. 27, 2019, just five days after he went into cardiac arrest following a violent confrontation with Aurora police officers. The 23-year-old was detained after someone reported him as a “suspicious” person, although he was wearing a mask because he was anemic.
The cops grabbed McClain and placed him in a carotid chokehold. Body camera footage captured him pleading with the officers, saying that he was non-violent and couldn’t breathe. Once EMTs arrived, they injected a shot of 500 milligrams of ketamine into McClain, who later suffered a heart attack in the ambulance. He was declared brain dead at the hospital and taken off life support a few days later.
The five defendants are set to appear back in court on Jan. 7.