Prosecutors in the case against officers involved in the death of Elijah McClain sought to present enhanced body camera footage during the trial. The footage, compiled by audio and video forensics expert David Notowitz, aims to provide a clearer picture of the incident. McClain, a Black man, died in 2019 after being put in a neck hold by police officers and subsequently sedated by paramedics. The case has gained attention as an example of excessive force against people of color.
The raw body camera footage, which includes McClain pleading with officers and saying “I can’t breathe,” has been publicly released. However, the enhanced footage, created by Notowitz, has not been previously shown. Defense attorneys for the officers have expressed concerns about the manipulated nature of the enhanced video.
The officers involved, Randy Roedema and Jason Rosenblatt, face charges of criminally negligent homicide, manslaughter, and assault. They have pleaded not guilty. A third officer and two paramedics charged in McClain’s death are scheduled for trial later this year.
During the opening statements, prosecutors argued that the officers ignored McClain’s pleas for help and failed to follow their training. They claimed that the officers used excessive force against an unarmed individual and did not deescalate the situation. The defense attorneys, on the other hand, argued that the officers had no choice but to stop McClain after a 911 call and that McClain showed resistance.
The confrontation between McClain and the officers was captured in detail by police body camera video. The footage was introduced as evidence through the testimony of Lt. Delbert Tisdale, who oversees the body camera program at the Aurora Police Department but was not present during the fatal encounter.
The case against the officers is the first of several trials related to McClain’s death. The use of the sedative that played a role in McClain’s death has been banned by Colorado police. The trial will continue with the presentation of the enhanced body camera footage and further testimonies.