White police officer cleared over death of Black man in US
November 7, 2023 09:56 AM
A white police officer was found not guilty Monday in the death of a Black man who was put in a chokehold and injected with ketamine during his arrest.
A jury in the western state of Colorado cleared Aurora police officer Nathan Woodyard of reckless manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide in the death of Elijah McClain, whose August 2019 death sparked public outrage.
The not guilty verdict came less than a month after a jury convicted fellow officer Randy Roedema of criminally negligent homicide and third-degree assault and acquitted Jason Rosenblatt.
Roedema is due to be sentenced in January.
McClain died several days after a struggle with police, and after being injected with ketamine -- a powerful sedative -- by attending paramedics. The case prompted a celebrity-backed online petition calling for justice when the details came to light.
Police had responded to a call about a "suspicious" Black male "acting weird" in the street and wearing a ski mask.
One officer said McClain, who was unarmed, had reached for another officer's gun.
No evidence was produced to support this claim.
McClain's family told media he had been out buying iced tea, and often wore the mask to stay warm because he suffered from anemia.
McClain's death occurred months before the killing of another Black man, George Floyd, in Minneapolis in May 2020, triggered a nationwide reckoning over racism and police brutality.
The responding paramedics -- Peter Cichuniec and Jeremy Cooper -- are set for trial in the coming weeks, CNN reported.