By Carol Ozemhoya
The police officers and paramedics who stopped 23-year-old Elijah McClain and administered a fatal dose of ketamine to the unarmed Black man are being charged with homicide, more than two years after his death, reports Vice.com. A grand jury indicted three Aurora, Colorado, police officers and two paramedics on a total of 32 counts in a rare move to hold them accountable for acts while on duty. Every defendant is facing one count of criminally negligent homicide and a count of manslaughter, according to Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, while assault charges vary among those involved in McClain’s death. “Our goal is to seek justice for Elijah McClain, for his family and his friends, and for our state,” Weiser said. On August 24, 2019, McClain was walking home from work wearing a ski mask he wore to keep himself warm, because he was anemic. After a resident called police because McClain looked “suspicious,” Aurora police officers Nathan Woodyard, Randy Roedema and Jason Rosenblatt pulled up and told the young Black man to stop. But McClain kept walking because he had headphones on at the time of the verbal command, according to body camera footage.The officers then accused him of resisting, tackled him to the ground and began to handcuff him. At one point they even placed him in a chokehold, a maneuver now banned by most police departments after the 2014 death of Eric Garner in New York. McClain fainted and vomited during the arrest.“I was just going home,” McClain can be heard saying on body camera footage during the struggle. “I’m just different, I’m just different, that’s all, that’s all I was doing. I’m so sorry.”Paramedics were called to the scene of McClain’s arrest by police after they determined he was suffering from “excited delirium,” a controversial state of agitation often diagnosed by cops, which later appeared on the Black man’s death certificate. The paramedics then injected McClain with ketamine, which is often used as an anesthetic treatment. But McClain went into cardiac arrest as they transported him to the hospital and was declared brain-dead on August 27. He was taken off life support three days later.