Randy Roedema, a former police officer in Colorado, has been sentenced to 14 months in jail for his involvement in the 2019 killing of Elijah McClain. McClain, an unarmed Black man, was subjected to rough restraint by the police, followed by the administration of a powerful sedative by paramedics.
McClain’s mother, Sheneen McClain, expressed her condemnation of Roedema during the sentencing, stating, “Randy Roedema stole my son’s life,” and criticized the sentence as “a slap on the wrist.” Roedema was previously found guilty of criminally negligent homicide and third-degree assault in October, while his fellow officer, Jason Rosenblatt, was acquitted in the joint trial.
The incident unfolded on August 24, 2019, when police confronted the 23-year-old McClain based on a 911 call reporting suspicious behavior. Within seconds of stopping him, police applied a carotid chokehold, leading to McClain vomiting and repeatedly expressing difficulty breathing.
While the original autopsy in 2019 deemed the cause of death “undetermined,” a revised report in 2021 attributed McClain’s death to “complications of ketamine administration following forcible restraint.” In a separate trial, two paramedics were recently convicted of criminally negligent homicide for injecting McClain with an overdose of ketamine. They are set to be sentenced in March.
Initially receiving limited attention, McClain’s case gained prominence after the global protests following George Floyd’s killing in May 2020. Responding to public outcry, Colorado Governor Jared Polis requested the state attorney general’s office to investigate McClain’s case in 2020, leading to a state grand jury indictment of the involved officers and paramedics in 2021.