The three Aurora, Colorado officers involved in the death of a 23-year-old Black male, Elijah McClain, have been reassigned over safety reasons, according to Aurora authorities.
Nathan Woodyard, Jason Rosenblatt, and Randy Roedema will remain on the force, but in the capacity of “non-enforcement” duties, at the Aurora Police Department. A spokesperson for the department said one of the reasons for the move is to ensure the officers’ safety after several police and city employees have received death threats in recent weeks.
The officers have yet to face any criminal charges for their involvement in the death of McClain. After a year of the McClain’s family pressuring the local and state authorities to charge the officers for their actions, Colorado Governor, Jared Polis announced his administration would review the case.
Mari Newman, the attorney for the McClain family, said in a statement to the press, “Last year, we stood on the municipal center steps demanding an investigation and what did we hear then? Crickets. Why did it take almost a year, international media attention, millions of people signing a petition for a responsible adult to finally step up and do what should have happened right from the outset?”
August 24, 2019, McClain was confronted by three police officers after an anonymous caller to 911 reported a “suspicious person.” The officers’ bodycam shows McClain telling officers that he’s trying to stop his music so he could listen to them. After resisting the officers’ contact, McClain is heard saying, “I’m an introvert, please respect the boundaries that I am speaking.”
Once the three officers were able to get McClain on the ground using a chokehold that the department deemed was inline with their department policies, paramedics arrived, and McClain was injected with ketamine. Ketamine is a medication that is used to induce a trance-like state while providing pain relief, sedation, and in some cases, memory loss.
According to a letter from the District Attorney office, McClain suffered a heart attack while in the ambulance and was declared brain dead three days later. An autopsy did not determine a cause of death but listed intense physical exertion and a narrow left coronary artery as contributing factors. The amount of ketamine found in McClain’s system is being reported as a therapeutic amount.