United States: two emergency workers found guilty of the death of a black man

Two rescue workers were found guilty of involuntary manslaughter on Friday, December 22, by a Colorado court in the case of the death of Elijah McClain, a young black man who died shortly after his arrest by police in 2019

United States: two emergency workers found guilty of the death of a black man

Two rescue workers were found guilty of involuntary manslaughter on Friday, December 22, by a Colorado court in the case of the death of Elijah McClain, a young black man who died shortly after his arrest by police in 2019.

In August 2019, Elijah McClain, aged 23, was held in the neck and then forcibly injected with a powerful sedative, ketamine, during an arrest in Aurora, a city in this western state the United States. He died three days later of a heart attack.

His death only attracted media attention after that of George Floyd, another Black American killed during a police intervention, in May 2020, brought his case, and others, back into the spotlight. spotlights.

The two paramedics being prosecuted, Jeremy Cooper, 49, and Peter Cichuniec, 51, were found guilty by the jury of negligent manslaughter, according to the Washington Post.

Illicit administration of ketamine

Mr. Cichuniec was also convicted of second-degree assault for unlawful administration of medication, and was immediately taken into custody, according to CNN.

Their lawyers argued that they had only followed protocol by administering ketamine as a sedative. A defense swept aside by prosecutors, who criticized them in particular for not having spoken to the victim, nor having checked their vital signs before administering the product.

The use of this powerful sedative by first responders to tranquilize people against their will has sparked controversy in the United States and has led to the opening of investigations in several American states.

“There was no indication that Elijah needed ketamine, and you heard many experts say that the administration of this substance had no medical purpose,” declared prosecutor Shannon Stevenson, according to American media. “The defendants never did anything to obtain Elijah McClain's consent to any treatment, and no reasonable person would consent to an overdose of a medication they did not need,” he said. -she continued.

In October, in this same case, the Colorado courts found one of the white American police officers prosecuted guilty of involuntary manslaughter. Two other police officers were acquitted. Police had been called by someone mentioning a “suspicious black male” wearing a ski mask and “acting strangely” on a street in Aurora. A police officer claimed that Elijah McClain, who was not carrying any weapon, tried to grab his revolver during the intervention. According to the victim's family, he had simply gone out to buy a drink and often wore this ski mask to avoid catching a cold.