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Black and Brown Lives Matter: Cases of Police Killings and Assaults


Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black man, was approached by police on August 24, 2019, while he was walking home from a convenience store in Aurora, Colorado.  The Aurora police were responding to a call about a "suspicious person" wearing a mask.  The police claimed that McClain would not stop for them and was resisting, and they put McClain in two carotid holds.  Paramedics were called, who injected McClain with ketamine to sedate him, and McClain then went into cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital.  He was taken off of life support 6 days later, and his family said at that time he was brain-dead and covered in bruises.  Friends and family of McClain were devastated and described him as "the sweetest, purest person" who would never hurt anyone and who suffered from social anxiety.  The body camera footage was not released until months later, but it is unclear exactly what happened in the footage anyway, as the body cameras allegedly fell off during the arrest.  Initially the officers were cleared of wrongdoing, but in the summer of 2020, multiple investigations into the case began after the case gained attention during the national uproar over police killings.  The City Council appointed an independent panel to investigate, and the Attorney General's office also began conducting their own investigation of the incident.  On September 1, 2021, two years after McClain's death, a grand jury charged officers Nathan Woodyard and Randy Roedema, former police officer Jason Rosenblatt, and Aurora Fire and Rescue paramedics Jeremy Cooper and Lieutenant Peter Cichuniec with one count each of manslaughter and one count each of criminally negligent homicide.  McClain's family has also filed a civill rights lawsuit against the city of Aurora, Colorado.

An illustration of McClain surrounded by objects that were dear to him, created by an artist for the family of McClain

Litigation/ Lawsuits

Estate of Elijah Javon McClain, et al. v. City of Aurora, Colorado, et al. Civil Action No. 20-cv-02389-DDD-NRN

McClain's family has filed this civil lawsuit alleging civil rights violations in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.  The link above is for the docket on Bloomberg, but the public can access the docket through PACER.

The People of the State of Colorado v. Randy Roedema, et al. 

A grand jury has indicted the officers, and the indictment is linked above.  For the full docket of the case, search for the case number (2021-CR-2782) on the Colorado Judicial Branch's website.

Relevant Statutes

All of the police officers and paramedics involved have been charged with one count each of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide:

Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 18-3-104: Manslaughter

Westlaw; Lexis

(1) A person commits the crime of manslaughter if:

(a) Such person recklessly causes the death of another person; or

(b) Such person intentionally causes or aids another person to commit suicide.

(2) Manslaughter is a class 4 felony.


Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 18-3-105: Criminally Negligent Homicide

Westlaw; Lexis

Any person who causes the death of another person by conduct amounting to criminal negligence commits criminally negligent homicide which is a class 5 felony.