The Colorado police officer who allegedly arrested Elijah McClain in 2019 has been acquitted of charges in connection to the 23-year-old’s death. As The Shade Room previously reported, McClain passed away while in police custody.
RELATED: UPDATE: Jury Convicts Colorado Police Officer In 2019 Death Of Elijah McClain
More Details Regarding The Colorado Ruling
According to ABC News, a jury acquitted Nathan Woodyard on Monday. Woodyard reportedly pled not guilty to charges of “reckless manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide” in connection to McClain’s death.
The outlet reports that Woodyard was the first officer to respond to a 911 call reporting McClain as a “suspicious person wearing a ski mask.” From there, Woodyard allegedly placed McClain in a carotid hold.
As previously reported by The Shade Room, the carotid hold is a “restraint technique.” Furthermore, the hold “restricts blood flow to the brain, causing temporary unconsciousness.”
According to ABC News, the prosecution argued that Woodyard placing McClain in the restraint caused the 23-year-old trouble breathing. Additionally, it led McClain to choke on his vomit while Woodyard and other officers gave him no aid.
“This trial is about the defendant and his teammates doing nothing to help Elijah McClain. This trial is about their continued callousness and indifference to Mr. McClain’s suffering,” Assistant Attorney General Ann Joyce reportedly told the court, per ABC News.
Meanwhile, Woodyard’s defense team reportedly argued that the ketamine sedative administered to the 23-year-old during his arrest ultimately caused McClain’s passing.
“The evidence cannot leave the real possibility that Nathan did not know that the paramedics would come in and overdose,” Woodyard’s attorney Andrew Ho reportedly explained, per ABC News.
According to CNN, Woodyard is suspended without pay from the Aurora police force pending the outcome of his trial.
The Defense Attorneys, Prosecution & Elijah McClain’s Mother Reacts To The Latest Verdict
Woodyard’s attorneys shared a statement after the verdict, per ABC News.
“We are respectful of the process in what is a very difficult case,” Woodyard’s lawyers, Megan Downing and Andrew Ho, reportedly explained. “We have never disregarded the tragic circumstances, but are relieved for what we believe is the just outcome for our client.”
Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser shared a statement on behalf of the prosecution.
“Today’s verdict is not the one we hoped for, but we respect the jury system and accept this outcome,” Weiser reportedly explained. “I thank the jurors for serving and performing their civic duty… We remain undeterred in our pursuit of accountability and justice for Elijah McClain and his family and friends.”
McClain’s mother, Sheneen McClain, also shared her thoughts on the latest verdict.
“It lets us down, not just people of color, it lets down everybody. They don’t do the right thing, they always do the bare minimum…,” McClain explained. “
It’s just unfortunate that the people that stopped my son, brutalized my son, tortured my son, get away with murder, and their passing on what they did to the medical professionals that still were supposed to do their job. Nobody did. So it’s just unfortunate that they are placing the blame and passing the buck.”
More Details Regarding Elijah McClain’s Death & Its Prosecution
As The Shade Room previously reported, McClain was confronted by police while leaving a convenience store on the evening of August 24, 2019. Officers reportedly wrestled the 23-year-old to the ground and placed McClain in a carotid hold.
The officers alleged that McClain resisted their commands, while it was also reported that McClain attempted to comply with officers. The 23-year-old allegedly informed authorities that their actions restricted his breathing. However, McClain was then injected with ketamine and suffered a heart attack while he was transported to a hospital.
McClain ultimately passed away three days later.
Since then, a coroner’s report has alleged that a ketamine overdose led to McClain’s death. Additionally, the autopsy reportedly stated that McClain would be alive had he not been given the sedative.
Since the 23-year-old’s death, Colorado officer Randy Roedema has been convicted of “criminally negligent homicide and assault.” According to ABC News, Roedema faces up to five years in prison. Additionally, a former Colorado officer named Jason Rosenblatt has been acquitted of “reckless manslaughter and assault.”
According to CNN, two EMTs who also arrived on the scene during McClain’s arrest will go on trial “in the coming weeks.”
RELATED: Death Of Elijah McClain In Police Custody Attributed To Complications From Ketamine Shots Used To Restrain Him During 2019 Arrest