Former Colorado police officer Randy Roedema was sentenced to 14 months in jail after being convicted of criminally negligent homicide and third-degree assault in the 2019 death of Elijah McClain.
Roedema, who was fired from the Aurora Police Department in October after he was convicted, helped hold down McClain while paramedics injected him with a high dose of ketamine. McClain, a 23-year-old massage therapist, died a few days later in the hospital.
According to ABC News, he received a 14-month county jail sentence for the crime of assault in the third degree, with authorized work release. “For the criminally negligent homicide, he’ll serve 90 days of jail time concurrently with the assault sentencing.”
“The court was shocked by what appeared to be, really, indifference to Elijah McClain’s suffering after he was clearly in custody and in handcuffs,” Judge Mark Warner said during sentencing. “I think it’s important for folks to be aware that criminally negligent homicide is not considered a violent crime. And despite what folks’ opinions or my opinion might be about whether this was violent or not [that] doesn’t control [the law].”
“Roedema will also be on probation for four years, and he must also serve 200 hours of community service”, according to ABC News.
In a statement, Elijah McClain’s mother called for the maximum sentence for the Justice Department: “Our communities cannot know peace until we see the Justice Department hold their own enforcers accountable.”
“Elijah McLean had no criminal activity or record at the time of his murder on August 24, 2019. Elijah was a young adult who had his whole life ahead of him,” said Sheneen McClain, she added. “My son will never be a dad, an uncle or a grandfather. Randy Roedema has stolen my son’s life. All the belated apologies in the world cannot remove my son’s blood from Randy’s hands.”
Roedema also spoke during the sentencing expressing remorse for what took place. “I know that I would be devastated if I lost any of my children. And I hate that the McClain family has to go through this,” said Roedema. “At the same time, I do not think there is anything that I can say that will make this okay.”
Paramedics Jeremy Cooper and Lt. Peter Cichuniec with the Aurora Fire Department were found guilty of criminally negligent homicide in December in connection with McClain’s death. Cichuniec was also convicted on one of two second-degree assault charges, while Cooper was found not guilty on the assault charges. They were fired after being convicted and are scheduled to be sentenced in March, per court documents.
Nathan Woodyard and Jason Rosenblatt, the other two police officers involved in McClain’s death, were acquitted of all counts. In 2020, Rosenblatt was fired from the police department due to a picture that mimicked McClain’s death. However, as ESSENCE previously reported, after his acquittal last year, Woodyard rejoined the Aurora Police Department on “restricted duty” and will get almost $212,000 in back pay.
McClain’s mother, Sheneen McClain, said convictions of three out of the five defendants did not equal not justice but “a very small acknowledgment of accountability in the justice system.”