On Tuesday, the city confirmed that Nathan Woodyard returned to the police force on restricted duty. Woodyard had been on unpaid administrative leave since September 2021, two years after he stopped McClain on Aug. 24, 2019, following a 911 call about a suspicious man walking in the night. McClain was not armed, nor did he pose a threat to anyone. Yet, Woodyard unnecessarily tackled McClain, who was ultimately injected with ketamine, which sent him into cardiac arrest. Woodyard was charged with reckless manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. He was found not guilty of both.
“Consistent with the requirements set forth in the Aurora City Charter, Nathan Woodyard is no longer suspended without pay following his acquittal on Nov. 6,” Aurora spokesperson Ryan Luby confirmed in an email to 9NEWS.
“The length of a reintegration period varies depending on the employee, the length of their extended absence and any other circumstances that may arise before or during that process,” Luby wrote. “Consequently, Mr. Woodyard would need to undergo reintegration for a period of time as numerous policies and practices at the Aurora Police Department have changed since he was placed on administrative leave without pay.”
As if that is not shocking enough, Woodyard will receive back pay in the amount of $212,546.04 for the months he was out of work. While Woodyard got off scot-free, fellow officer Randy Roedema was convicted of criminally negligent homicide and third-degree assault. Jason Rosenblatt was acquitted of identical charges and was fired for laughing at a photo online of police officers putting a man in a chokehold. Paramedics Jeremy Cooper and Peter Cichuniec, who responded to the scene but failed to help McClain, are now gearing up to stand trial.
Let’s continue to send McClain’s family well wishes during such a difficult time.