Producer/Director donnie l. betts first hand report on the trial of Elijah McClain. The officers now on trial — Randy Roedema and Jason Rosenblatt — are charged with manslaughter, criminally negligent reckless homicide and assault, all felonies. They pleaded not guilty.
Roedema, a former Marine who is currently suspended without pay, had been with the department for five years before McClain's death. Rosenblatt worked for the agency for two years and was fired in 2020 for making light of other officers' reenactment of the neck hold.
The two officers have not talked publicly about McClain's death and it's unknown if they'll take the stand to testify. Their lawyers told jurors that the officers' actions followed police policies and weren't responsible for McClain's death. They've sought to shift any blame to the paramedics who injected the ketamine.
Body cameras worn by the officers captured the confrontation and the footage is being used by both sides to bolster their arguments.
That's what jurors will have to decide.
Rosenblatt initially tried to put McClain in a neck hold but couldn't because of his position, so Woodyard did, authorities said. The maneuver, called a carotid control hold, restricts the flow of blood to a person's brain, rendering them temporarily unconscious. Neck restraints have been banned in many states following the nationwide Black Lives Matter protests.