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Guilty verdicts alone not enough justice in Elijah McClain case

Walking home from a local store Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old African American man, was put in a chokehold by a police officer, then injected with ketamine by paramedics, leading to his death.

This story erupted an outrage towards the consistent events of police brutality against people of color. The reason for this attack? McClain appeared to be “sketchy” to the officers because he was wearing a ski mask and dressing warmly. 

Elijah McClain was a massage therapist from Aurora, Colo., who adored animals and would regularly volunteer at the animal shelter. He was described by family as peaceful and gentle.

Nathan Woodyard, one of the three officers involved, was the one responsible for putting McClain in a carotid hold. He is currently on trial, awaiting a decision from the jury. A carotid hold is very similar to a choke hold, causing the blood flow to cut off, usually leaving the other unconscious. 

As this occurred in 2019, the fight for justice for McClain continues. In November of 2021, McClain’s family settled for $15 million. 

 “It’s still blood money because that money has my son’s blood on it,” McClain’s mother said. 

A judge had discovered a sufficient amount of evidence to resume the case in 2022, and one of the officers was recently convicted of criminally negligent homicide and third-degree assault. Sentencing for Randy Roedema will take place in January. He was also fired as a result of his convictions. 

The two paramedics that were involved in the death of McClain are scheduled to go to trial in late November. 

“This is not justice,”  McClain’s mother said. Roedema’s guilty verdict is “not enough.” 

Many believe that there are so many other things that need to be accounted for to prevent this from happening in the future such as more training for police officers, discussions that put a stop to police brutality, and retraining police officers. There is so much more justice that needs to be served with all victims of police brutality.


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