Jury selection in Colorado in the case of Elijah McClain is set to begin Friday, the Associated Press reports. The jury will decide if officers Randy Roedema and Jason Rosenblatt are guilty of manslaughter, criminally negligent reckless homicide and assault charges. McClain died after police put the 23-year-old in a neck hold and paramedics gave him a sedative that officials eventually determined played a key role in his death days later. McClain was unarmed and hadn’t committed any crime. Trials for a third officer and two paramedics are scheduled later this year. The McClain case would have been left behind in 2019 without the pressure caused by the 2020 racial justice protests, which included McClain’s city of Aurora, Colo., the New York Times reports.
Roedema had been with the department for five years before McClain’s death. Rosenblatt had worked for the agency for two years and is the only officer who confronted McClain who was fired — not for the fatal encounter itself, but for making light of other officers’ reenactment of the neck hold. They were indicted in 2021 by a state grand jury. A revised coroner’s report in 2021 said the cause of death was complications from ketamine but noted that that occurred after McClain was forcibly restrained. Pathologist Stephen Cina wrote he couldn’t rule out whether the stress of being held down by the officers may have contributed to McClain’s death. His death brought increased scrutiny to how police and paramedics use ketamine. It is often used at the behest of police who believe suspects are out of control. Sheneen McClain, Elijah McClain’s mother, and McClain’s father, LaWayne Mosely, sued Aurora and reached a $15 million settlement with the city.