Another police officer in Colorado has been found not guilty in the case of Elijah McClain’s death. Elijah McClain passed away in 2019 after being given ketamine and held down.
Nathan Woodyard, who is 34 years old, was declared not guilty of the charges of causing someone’s death accidentally and causing someone’s death due to reckless behavior.
Another officer named Jason Rosenblatt was found not guilty in October. Another person named Randy Roedema was convicted and found guilty.
The passing of Mr. McClain, a black man, received more attention again following the passing of George Floyd.
Mr McClain, a 23-year-old person who gives massages, was walking back to his house from a store in a neighborhood called Aurora in Denver. Three police officers, who were white, stopped him because someone had reported seeing someone suspicious in the area.
He was wearing a mask to keep himself warm because he often gets very cold due to his anaemia. He was also wearing headphones. McClain didn’t listen to the officers when they told him to stop.
A video was recorded of Mr. McClain being forced to the ground and put in a chokehold. He kept saying “I can’t breathe. ” A doctor later gave him a shot of ketamine, a medicine that makes you relaxed and sleepy. He never woke up and died three days after being removed from life support.
Mr Woodyard put Mr. McClain in a chokehold during the incident. He could have gone to jail for many years if found guilty.
During the trial that lasted a week, Mr. Woodyard said that he put Mr. McClain in a chokehold because he was afraid for his own life. He claimed that he heard Mr. McClain say that he wanted to regain control.
Another officer also said that Mr. McClain tried to grab Mr. Woodyard’s weapon – the prosecutors disagree with this accusation, and there is no evidence from the footage that supports it.
During the trial, Mr. Woodyard’s lawyers said that he wasn’t there when Mr. McClain’s condition got worse. The video from the body camera shows that he had moved away.
In an email mentioned in the Washington Post, Mr. Woodyard’s lawyers said that they understand the sad situation of Mr. McClain’s death but are glad that they believe their client received a fair outcome.
It was unsure if Mr Woodyard would return to work in Aurora. He wasn’t allowed to work or receive any money in 2020.
Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said that even though the outcome of the verdict was not what they wanted, they are still determined to seek justice for Elijah McClain.
“We need to do everything we can to prevent law enforcement from using force in a way that is against the law and not necessary. This kind of force can lead to people losing their lives,” he further emphasized.
In October, a jury determined that officer Randy Roedema was responsible for causing someone’s death and injuring them, and they found him guilty of these crimes. Jason Rosenblatt was found not guilty of causing someone’s death due to extreme carelessness, causing someone’s death due to criminal negligence, and severely injuring someone in an attack.
Two ambulance workers, Jeremy Cooper and Peter Cichuniec, will have to go to court later this year.