webselectnews


Police officer convicted of killing Elijah McClain set to learn his fate
Jan 05

Eds: UPDATES: With AP Photos.

By COLLEEN SLEVIN
Associated Press

DENVER (AP) __ A Colorado police officer convicted of killing Elijah McClain, a young Black man walking home from a store, is expected to learn Friday whether a judge will sentence him to prison or he will receive probation.

McClain`s mother also may speak at the sentencing hearing.

Among the three officers charged in McClain`s 2019 death, Randy Roedema was the only one found guilty and was the most senior officer who initially responded to the scene. A jury convicted the former Aurora officer in October of criminally negligent homicide, which is a felony, and third-degree assault, which is a misdemeanor.

McClain's killing received little attention at the time, but gained renewed interest the following year as mass protests swept the nation after the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. McClain's death became a rallying cry for critics of racial injustice in policing.

In a separate trial, two paramedics were recently convicted for injecting 23- year-old McClain with an overdose of the sedative ketamine after police put him in a neck hold. Sentencing will come later this year for the paramedics, who had been trained to use ketamine to treat " excited delirium " __ a disputed condition some say is unscientific, rooted in racism, and used to justify excessive force.

McClain was stopped by police after a 911 caller reported that he looked suspicious. Another officer put his hands on McClain within seconds, beginning a struggle and restraint that lasted about 20 minutes before paramedics injected him with ketamine. Experts say the sedative ultimately killed McClain, who was already weakened from struggling to breath while being pinned down after inhaling vomit into this lungs.

For Roedema, criminally negligent homicide, defined as killing someone by failing to recognize a substantial risk to their life, carries a punishment of probation up to three years in prison. The assault conviction is punishable by probation up to two years in jail.

Judge Mark Warner, a former prosecutor who has been a judge for nearly 20 years, will have to determine a fair sentence by weighing how this homicide case compares to others he has seen in his career, said former district attorney George Brauchler. A first conviction can lead to a sentence of probation, but the judge must also consider that Roedema was a uniformed police officer, given special authority and respect by society, and a jury convicted him of taking a life, Brauchler said.

"I don't know how that person gets to go home that night," said Brauchler, who prosecuted the 2012 Aurora theater shooting case. "I think that would be very tough."

Even if Warner decided to put Roedema on probation, he could require him to spend up to 90 days in jail first as part of that sentence, Brauchler said.

Roedema`s sentences for the assault and homicide charge are likely to be served at the same time, and not back-to-back for a longer sentence, since they involve the same actions. By The Associated Press, Copyright 2023