Officer Who Arrested Elijah McClain Found Not Guilty

Photo: Getty Images

A verdict has been reached in the trial for a suspended Aurora, Colorado police officer who was facing charges in the death of Elijah McClain — a 23-year-old Black man who died in 2019 after being restrained by police and injected with ketamine by paramedics.

On Monday (November 6), a jury found Nathan Woodyard not guilty of reckless manslaughter and a lesser-included charge of criminally negligent homicide in McClain's death, CNN reports.

The 34-year-old is the third officer tried in connection to McClain's death. A Colorado jury handed down a mixed verdict to the two other officers -- Randy Roedema and Jason Rosenblatt -- last month. Roedema, the officer who restrained McClain on the ground, was convicted of criminally negligent homicide and assault. Rosenblatt, who attempted an initial unsuccessful carotid hold, was acquitted.

The trials stem from McClain's arrest on August 24, 2019, which occurred as officers were responding to a report of a "suspicious person" wearing a ski mask. Officers confronted McClain while he was walking home from a convenience store carrying a bag with iced tea.

Body camera footage shows officers wrestled McClain to the ground and put him in a carotid hold. Paramedics later arrived and injected him with ketamine, a powerful sedative.

On his way to the hospital, McClain suffered a heart attack and was pronounced dead three days later.

Woodyard placed McClain in the carotid hold – a move in which an officer uses their biceps and forearm to cut off blood flow to a subject’s brain – that left McClain unconscious, according to an indictment.

Woodyard was previously suspended without pay, pending the outcome of the trial.

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