Live Updates: Elijah McClain Investigation Results in Manslaughter Charges for 3 Cops, 2 Paramedics

Live Updates

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser announced Wednesday that the grand jury investigation into the death of Elijah McClain resulted in manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide charges being filed against three police officers and two paramedics.

McClain, a Black man, died in 2019 after being put in a police chokehold and injected with a potent sedative. The grand jury appointed to the investigation delivered a 32 count indictment against the five defendants last Thursday, leading up to the Wednesday announcement.

On top of the manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide charges, the indictment includes several second degree assault and crimes of violence charges that vary between the defendants. Weiser said McClain's death is "a loss to all of us" and his department has a "solemn duty" to prosecute the case.

"We're here today because Elijah McClain is not here, and he should be. He was a son, and nephew, a brother and a friend," Weiser said.

The police and fire departments in Aurora, the Denver suburb where McClain died, are also under a separate civil investigation to determine whether they have a "pattern of and practice of violating the civil right of their community members." Weiser said that the investigation is ongoing, and findings will be announced at its conclusion.

"By working to build trust in law enforcement and working to elevate what safe and effective policing looks like, we will advance public safety. And we will honor the profession's commitment to serve all Coloradans fairly and responsibly," Weiser said.

McClain's name was widely circulated during the mass protests against police brutality and racial injustice in 2020 following the killing of George Floyd. The 23-year-old massage therapist was walking home from a convenience store when police stopped him after someone called 911 to report that McClain "looked sketchy," the New York Times reported.

Body camera footage showed the 23-year-old vomiting multiple times and pleading with the officers for his life while in the chokehold. When paramedics arrived at the scene, they injected him with ketamine. McClain went into cardiac arrest while in transport to a hospital and died a few days later.

Colorado Governor Jared Polis directed Weiser to initiate a new criminal investigation into McClain's death amid racial justice protests in 2020, and Weiser announced that the probe had begun in January 2021. A district attorney previously declined to charge the involved officers in 2019, citing that the autopsy could not determine a cause of death for McClain.

The live updates for this event have ended.

Officers Charged foe Elijah McClain's Death
The Colorado attorney general on Wednesday announced that three officers and two paramedics would face manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide charges for the death of Elijah McClain. People gather at a candlelight vigil to demand justice for McClain on the one year anniversary of his death at The Laugh Factory on August 24, 2020 in West Hollywood, California. Rich Fury/Getty Images

Prosecutors Will Be Limited in Speaking About Case: 'We'll Do Our Talking in Court'

Prosecutors and others involved in the charges filed against officers and paramedics involved in Elijah McClain's death will be "limited in what we can say" as the case advances, Attorney General Phil Weiser said Wednesday.

"Many of you will have questions as this case proceeds.
 We understand that," Weiser said.

He said that they would "do our talking in court."

"We thank you in advance for your patience as this case goes forward," Weiser said.

The attorney general also reminded listeners that a grand jury indictment is a "formal accusation" and all of the defendants are "presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt."

McClain's Death 'A Loss to All Of Us,' Weiser Says

Attorney General Phil Weiser said Wednesday that the death of Elijah McClain is "a loss to all of us" after announcing a lengthy list of charges filed against involved officers and paramedics.

"We're here today because Elijah McClain is not here, and he should be. He was a son, and nephew, a brother and a friend," Weiser said.

"When he died, he was only 23 years old. He had his whole life ahead of him and his family and his friends must now go on and live without him," Weiser continued.

Weiser pledged that his department has a "solemn duty" to prosecute the case.

Aurora Officers and Charges Named in Grand Jury Indictment

Nathan Woodyard, Jason Rosenblatt and Randy Roedema were named in the 32 count indictment for alleged conduct in Elijah McClain's 2019 death. Two paramedics were also named in the indictment.

Roedema and Woodyard are current members of the Aurora force, while Roseblatt is no longer with the department.

All five individuals were charged with manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide, Weiser said. Some of them face added charges.

Aurora Police, Fire Departments Under Separate Civil Investigation

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser announced Wednesday that the Aurora police and fire department are currently under a civil investigation to determine whether they "have a pattern of and practice of violating the civil right of their community members."

The investigation is still ongoing, and findings will be announced at its conclusion, Weiser said.

The announcement comes hand in hand with the delivery from a grand jury of a 32-count indictment against Aurora former and current law enforcement and paramedics involved in Elijah McClain's death in 2019.

Elijah McClain Grand Jury Returned 32-Count Indictment For Officers Involved in Death

After the grand jury investigating Elijah McClain's death completed its probe, it returned a 32 count indictment against current and former officers and parademics involved in his death, Attorney General Phil Weiser said.

"Our department has the solemn duty to prosecute this case," Weiser said.

Colorado Attorney General Did Not 'Seek' Elijah McClain Investigation, But 'Took It Very Seriously'

The Colorado attorney general did not "seek" out appointment of the investigation into Elijah McClain's death, but they "took it very seriously," Attorney General Phil Weiser said Wednesday.

He said that the department had the option to only review the record of the "limited" initial investigation, but they decided to "undertake additional fact-finding" and "inquire further" into the events of his death.

"The community deserves a thorough investigation. Mr. McClain's family deserves it," Weiser said.