Former Colorado Police Officer Appeals Conviction in Elijah McClain Case

Former Colorado police officer Randy Roedema has filed an appeal against his conviction for his involvement in the death of Eljiah McClain, a 23-year-old Black man who died after an encounter with police in Aurora, a Denver suburb, in 2019. Roedema’s lawyers submitted a notice of appeal to the state appeals court on Wednesday.

Roedema was found guilty by a jury last October of criminally negligent homicide, a felony, and misdemeanor third-degree assault. He was sentenced to 14 months in jail during a hearing last month, where McClain’s mother referred to him as a “bully with a badge.” The case gained national attention in 2020 amid widespread protests against racial injustice in policing following the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.

McClain was stopped by police in Aurora while walking home from a store and listening to music. A 911 caller had reported him as suspicious, as he was wearing a face mask at the time. Within seconds of the encounter, another officer placed his hands on McClain, leading to a struggle that lasted approximately 20 minutes. Eventually, McClain was restrained, and paramedics administered the sedative ketamine. Initially, the coroner’s office could not determine the cause of McClain’s death, resulting in no criminal charges being filed. However, an updated autopsy report in 2021 concluded that McClain died from a ketamine overdose while being forcibly restrained by the police.

Roedema, who was fired from the Aurora Police Department after his conviction, is the only one of three police officers indicted in McClain’s death to be found guilty. The other two officers were acquitted. In a separate trial, two paramedics were convicted in December, marking the final trial of first responders involved in McClain’s death.

Roedema’s lawyers plan to challenge several issues, including the decision to join his trial with that of another officer, Jason Rosenblatt. They also question whether Roedema’s indictment should have been dismissed due to alleged errors in the instructions given to grand jurors. Additional issues may be raised when Roedema files an opening brief in the appeal.

Author: CrimeDoor

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