The trial of two paramedics, Jeremy Cooper and Peter Cichuniec, who were charged in the 2019 death of Elijah McClain in Colorado had begun, Reuters reports.
Both defendants, who have pleaded not guilty, were charged with manslaughter, assault, and other counts.
On Wednesday (Nov.29), Shannon Stevenson, the state solicitor general said that Cooper and Cichuniec “violated their training protocols by failing to examine McClain before injecting him with the maximum allowed dose of ketamine” which is a powerful sedative in her opening statement.
“At every single step they act with a total disregard for Elijah McClain as their patient, as a person," Stevenson said.
The prosecution team argued that Cooper and Cichuniec’s assessment that McClain was in a state of "excited delirium," was false and their judgment has been questioned by experts in the medical field.
When Cooper and Cichuniec injected McClain with 500 mg of ketamine, they wrongly estimated that he weighed 200 pounds but he only weighed 143 pounds.
"The defendants were called to the scene to help Elijah McClain, to treat him as their patient," Stevenson continued. "Instead, they killed him."
One Officer Found Guilty, One Acquitted in Elijah McClain's Death
Shana Beggan, a defense attorney representing Cooper, argued that paramedics attempted to examine McClain on the scene, but police officers on the scene “ slammed McClain to the ground” when the paramedics arrived. Attempting to de-escalate the situation, Cooper and Cichuniec backed away while the officers were apprehending McClain.
Beggan also stated that officers told Cooper and Cichuniec “indicated McClain was in a state of excited delirium" and they followed the "agitated patient" protocol that’s required after a ketamine injection. At the time of the incident, Beggan noted that there was little that Cooper and Cichuniec could have done.
"They don't have discretion, they're not doctors. They have to give ketamine," Beggan said. "That's the treatment."
Beggan said that the officers did not inform Cooper or Cichuniec that McClain was unable to breathe and r did they provide other details that could have influenced their decision to inject him with ketamine.
Cooper and Cichuniec’s trial is the last of three in connection with McClain’s death.
In October, one officer Randy Roedema was found guilty of criminally negligent homicide and assault in October and another officer Jason Rosenblatt was acquitted of all charges.
Roedema’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for January.
Earlier in November, officer Nathan Woodyard, who put McClain in a carotid chokehold was acquitted on charges of homicide and manslaughter by a 12-person jury in the Adams County Courthouse following a week-long trial in state district court. However, he has returned to work with Aurora police and will be given more than $200,000 in back pay, according to the
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