The three Colorado officers involved in Elijah McClain’s death have been taken off of the streets. According to CNN, officers Jason Rosenblatt, Randy Roedema and Nathan Woodyard have been reassigned to “nonenforcement duties.”
Faith Goodrich, spokeswoman for the Aurora Police Department, told CNN that the officers were taken off of street duty for their safety due to the department receiving threats recently.
McClain’s death began to make headlines last week even though it happened almost a year ago. The call for justice comes amidst a cry for defunding of police departments and police reform from the Black Lives Matter movement since the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
On August 24, 2019, McClain, a 23-year-old Black man, was walking home from an Aurora convenience store with a ski mask on due to him having anemia and getting cold easily. A bystander saw him walking and called 911 saying he looked suspicious but they didn’t believe anyone was in danger. The police approached him and told him to stop and he refused.
“I have a right to go where I am going,” he said according to body camera footage. McClain also said “I am going home. … Leave me alone,” and “Let me go. No, let me go. I am an introvert. Please respect my boundaries that I am speaking.”
The officers became physical with McClain and held him in a chokehold for 15 minutes. He reportedly vomited several times during the encounter and made it clear that he was unarmed.
“I don’t have a gun. I don’t do that stuff,” McClain said.
Paramedics were also called to the scene and they injected McClain with ketamine to sedate him. He had a heart attack on the way to the hospital and went into a coma. He later died on August 27, 2019.
“Last year, we stood on the municipal center steps demanding an investigation and what did we hear then? Crickets,” Mari Newman, an attorney for the McClain family, said in a statement.”Why did it take almost a year, international media attention, millions of people signing a petition for a responsible adult to finally step up and do what should have happened right from the outset?”
A Change.org petition has been started asking for another investigation of the incident. It has over 3.5 million signatures.
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