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Officer Who Placed Elijah McClain In Neck Hold Reinstated, Gets Backpay

Nathan Woodyard, the Aurora, Colorado, officer who stopped and placed Elijah McClain in a neck hold in 2019 was reinstated to the Aurora Police Department and is set to receive $200,000 in backpay, the Guardian reports. Earlier this month, a jury found Woodyard not guilty of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. Up until then, he had been suspended without pay, because he'd been indicted for his role in McClain’s death. He will now receive back pay for his two-year suspension, though a city spokesman said that, "pending next steps," Woodyard was being "reintegrated" into the department on restricted duty, not in uniform and with no public contact.


National protests erupted after the November 2019 killing of McClain, who became unconscious as he was held down by multiple officers and then was injected with a dangerously high dose of ketamine. Woodyard was the first to confront McClain. Two other police officers soon arrived and, with Woodyard, surrounded him. The three forced McClain to the ground and placed him in a neck hold, while putting their combined body weight on top of him. McClain said “I can’t breathe” at least seven times. He vomited and lost and regained consciousness. Paramedics who arrived injected him with 500mg of ketamine, a sedative. McClain did not awake from the dose; he suffered a heart attack.

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