Randy Roedema was sentenced to 14 months in prison for the 2019 murder of McClain, who was strangled and injected with ketamine.
A former police officer in the western US state of Colorado was sentenced to 14 months in prison for his role in the 2019 murder of Elijah McClain, a black man who was not suspected of any crime when the police He held it abruptly and the paramedics injected him with a powerful sedative.
Before the judge handed down the sentence Friday, McClain’s mother, Sheneen McClain, sentenced Randy Roedema, the only law enforcement official found guilty.
“Randy Roedema stole my son’s life,” he said. “All the belated apologies in the world won’t take my son’s blood off of Randy Roedema’s hands.”
He also described the sentence as “a slap on the wrist.”
Roedema was found guilty in October of criminally negligent homicide and third-degree assault. The same jury found fellow police officer Jason Rosenblatt not guilty in a joint trial.
Police confronted McClain, 23, on the night of August 24, 2019, after a passerby called 911 to report that a man was dressed in a winter coat and a balaclava on a warm night and was acting suspicious while walking home from a convenience store. store.
Police put their hands on McClain seconds after arresting him and choked him on the carotid at least twice. He vomited into his balaclava and repeatedly told officers that he couldn’t breathe.
The original autopsy performed on McClain in 2019 found the cause of death to be “undetermined.” However, a revised autopsy report in 2021 concluded that McClain died from “complications from ketamine administration following forcible restraint.”
In a separate trial, two paramedics were convicted last month of criminally negligent homicide for injecting McClain with an overdose of the sedative ketamine. They are due to be sentenced in March.
Local prosecutors initially declined to press charges, and McClain’s murder received little attention. That changed following the May 2020 killing of George Floyd, a Black man who died at the hands of Minneapolis police.
After Floyd’s death sparked global protests, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis in 2020 asked the state attorney general’s office to investigate McClain’s case. A state grand jury indicted the officers and paramedics in 2021.