Paramedics found guilty in Elijah McClain’s final death trial

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Two Colorado paramedics were convicted of criminally negligent homicide in 2019 death of Elijah McClain, a young unarmed Black man whose case drew national attention and his death forced public safety reforms in the city where he lived and died.

The jury split on two assault charges against the paramedics, Peter Cichuniec and Jeremy Cooper, after two days of deliberations. They convicted Cichuniec of one of the assault charges – second degree assault for the unlawful administration of drugs, but cleared Cooper of both charges.

The doctors said that the paramedics had injected McClain with powerful sedative, ketamine, while he was in police custody in Aurora, Colorado, which resulted him in being near death. He died days later in the hospital.

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The trial, which went on for almost four weeks, questioned the role of medical personnel in police encounters and whether they could be held criminally responsible for their actions.

McClain’s family, supporters, and the activists who pushed the case, said that the verdict provided some measure of justice.

This was the third and final trial in McClain’s death. Earlier, in two trials, three police officers were prosecuted. One officer, who was convicted of criminally negligent homicide and third-degree assault and will be sentenced on January 5. Two other officers were acquitted, and one has returned to the Aurora Police Department.