Criminal logo

Only police officer convicted in death of Elijah McClain appeals verdict, alleging errors

Police officer

By Abhishek Published 2 months ago 3 min read
Only police officer convicted in death of Elijah McClain appeals verdict, alleging errors
Photo by AJ Colores on Unsplash

AURORA, Colo. — The only Aurora police officer found guilty of wrongdoing in the death of Elijah McClain has appealed his conviction.

Randy Roedema, 41, faces 14 months in jail and four years of probation after being convicted of criminally negligent homicide and third-degree assault for his actions in McClain’s death.

He is expected to start serving the jail term March 22.

Roedema was among five first responders indicted by a statewide grand jury and accused of wrongdoing in the Aug. 24, 2019, death of McClain, 23.

McClain was walking home after buying three cans of tea at a convenience store when a 911 caller reported that he was wearing a mask and seemed “sketchy.”

Aurora officers Nathan Woodyard, Jason Rosenblatt, and Roedema stopped and subdued McClain. After Roedema said that McClain had tried to grab Rosenblatt’s gun, the officers twice put him in a neck hold that briefly rendered him unconscious. He vomited and inhaled some of it, and his medical condition deteriorated before paramedics Jeremy Cooper and Peter Cichuniec injected him with the sedative ketamine.

Prosecutors said repeatedly during the trials no evidence supported the theory that McClain went for an officer's gun.

McClain’s heart stopped. Although paramedics revived him, he died three days later without ever regaining consciousness.

In the filing, Roedema’s attorneys asked the Colorado Court of Appeals to consider a number of questions, including:

Whether Adams County District Judge Mark Warner erred in trying Roedema and Rosenblatt together, in allowing amendments to the indictment, and in overruling Roedema’s challenges to the dismissal of several jurors by prosecutors.

Whether the indictment should have been dismissed before trial for “defects and deficiencies” and for “errors in the instructions given to the grand jury?”

Whether sufficient evidence existed to convict Roedema of criminally negligent homicide?

The filing also suggested that the attorneys could raise other issues.

The same jury that found Roedema guilty acquitted Rosenblatt of all charges. A jury in a separate trial acquitted Woodyard of all charges. He later resigned from Aurora Police after being reinstated and receiving back pay.

In another trial, a jury convicted both paramedics of criminally negligent homicide and also found Cichuniec, the supervisor on the scene, guilty of second-degree assault.

Cichuniec is scheduled to be sentenced March 1. Cooper’s sentencing is set for April 26.

The Aurora police officer who was found not guilty in the 2019 death of Elijah McClain has resigned his position with the police department.

Nathan Woodyard resigned his position on Friday, a spokesman with the city of Aurora confirmed to The Denver Gazette.

Woodyard — who was the first officer to stop McClain, 23, on the night of Aug. 24, 2019, as he walked home from a convenience store — was acquitted on charges of criminally negligent homicide and reckless manslaughter in November and was reinstated to the Aurora Police Department.

Woodyard and two other officers, Randy Roedema and Jason Rosenblatt, had responded to a 911 call by a teenager who reported that McClain looked suspicious because the caller spotted him wearing a face mask and waving his arms.

A few minutes after the encounter began, Woodyard used a neck hold on McClain, called a carotid hold, that temporarily restricts oxygen to a person’s brain and can induce brief unconsciousness. About 18 minutes after the struggle began, a paramedic called to the scene injected McClain with 500 milligrams of ketamine, a sedative. He stopped breathing and went into cardiac arrest shortly after.

Woodyard was accused of ignoring McClain's pleas that he could not breathe while handcuffed on the ground and not notifying paramedics of McClain's symptoms.

guiltyfact or fiction

About the Creator


Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.