This content was published on January 21, 2023 – 05:08
Three police officers and two paramedics pleaded not guilty this Friday to the death of a young African-American man who was taken into custody in 2019 by officers, grabbed by the neck and injected with a sedative.
McClain died in August 2019 in Aurora, a town near Denver, Colorado, three days after being strangled by police, sedated with ketamine by paramedics and went into cardiac arrest. I was 23 years old.
Police responded to a call about a “suspicious person” wearing a mask and walking “with a strange attitude”.
One officer said that McClain, who was unarmed, reached for another officer’s gun.
The youth’s family claimed that he had gone out to buy iced tea and repeatedly wore a mask to stay warm as he was suffering from anaemia.
The 23-year-old’s death initially did not receive much media attention in the United States.
But his story found resonance after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis the following year, which in May 2020 triggered a massive national response to protests against police brutality towards minorities, especially blacks, in the United States.
Public pressure, including from celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres, led to an investigation by the Colorado Attorney General in 2020.
In 2021, officers Nathan Woodyard and Randy Roedema, former officer Jason Rosenblatt, and paramedics Jeremy Cooper and Peter Sichuniak were charged with 32 counts, including one count of murder and one count of criminally negligent homicide.
The Denver Post reported that all five pleaded not guilty when they appeared in Adams County court on Friday.
Woodyard, who strangled McClain, is due in court on Sept. 18.
The other two agents will be tried together from July 11, while the paramedics will be tried on August 7.