Negligent Homicide of a Black man in Colorado US in August 2019 during his arrest with ketamine, jury declared two paramedics guilty on Friday
In Colorado, a jury declared two paramedics guilty of negligent homicide on Friday. This pertains to the death of a Black man, Elijah McClain, who was subjected to a chokehold and injected with ketamine during his arrest in August 2019, according to reports from US media.
Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old unarmed Black man, passed away days after an altercation with the police and the administration of the sedative by attending paramedics. This incident stirred widespread anger.
The jury’s verdict found Jeremy Cooper, 49, and Peter Cichuniec, 51, guilty of criminally negligent homicide, as reported by The Washington Post. The episode unfolded when the police in Aurora responded to a call about a “suspicious” Black male behaving oddly in the street, wearing a ski mask. Despite being unarmed, an officer claimed McClain had reached for another officer’s gun, although no evidence supported this assertion.
McClain’s family informed the media that he had gone out to buy iced tea and often wore the mask to keep warm due to suffering from anemia. In October, a jury found a white police officer guilty of criminally negligent homicide in this case, while two other officers were acquitted.
Elijah McClain’s death preceded the killing of another Black man, George Floyd, in Minneapolis in May 2020, sparking nationwide protests against racism and police brutality.
The paramedics’ legal representatives contended that their clients had adhered to protocol in administering the drug. However, prosecutors argued that they had disregarded their training in handling distressed patients.
During closing arguments, prosecutor Shannon Stevenson stated, “There was no indication that Elijah needed ketamine, and multiple experts have asserted that its administration served no medical purpose,” as reported by the media. Stevenson emphasized that the defendants made no effort to secure Elijah McClain’s consent to any treatment, highlighting that no reasonable person would consent to an unnecessary drug overdose.
CNN pointed out the rarity of paramedics facing charges related to the death of the individuals they were treating.