A Colorado District Attorney has defended his decision not to file charges against the officers involved in the Elijah McClain case.
The case has come under renewed investigation as the three officers have now been given desk duty roles within their department.
Dave Young, who is the DA for Adams County spoke to CNN after the Governor Jared Polis appointed Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser as a special prosecutor to investigate McClain’s death.
‘I’m not here to condone their actions. In fact, I disagree with what they did on the night of August 24, 2019,’ said Young, referring to the officers involved in the incident.
District Attorney Dave Young said he disagrees with the actions of the Colorado officers but he could not prove ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ the cops actions killed Elijah McClain
‘I have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the action of those officers caused the death of Elijah McClain,’ said Young. ‘In my business, I can’t take that case to court if we don’t know those answers. It’s as simple as that,’ he said
As the Elijah McClain case gets a second look at the state level, the district attorney defends his decision not to charge the officers, saying he disagrees with how they behaved but cannot “prove beyond a reasonable doubt those officers caused the death of Elijah Mcclain.” pic.twitter.com/HqZAJ3j84v
— Cuomo Prime Time (@CuomoPrimeTime) June 26, 2020
‘I have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the action of those officers caused the death of Elijah McClain,’ said Young. ‘In my business, I can’t take that case to court if we don’t know those answers. It’s as simple as that.
‘I wish they sat in their car and watched him walk home. Elijah McClain would be alive right now.’
McClain, who was Black, died after an altercation with Aurora police officers.
‘I have a right to stop you because you’re being suspicious,’ an officer is heard on a body camera recording telling McClain. The encounter happened as McClain, a certified massage therapist and self-taught violin player, was running an errand.
Aurora Police Department officers Jason Rosenblatt (left) and Randy Roedema (right) are two of the three officers who have now been placed on desk duty from earlier this month
Officer Nathan Woodyard (pictured) has also been assigned administrative tasks
He was on his way back home from a convenience store when three white officers approached him.
A person had called 911 to report seeing a suspicious person wearing a mask, however McClain was not committing any crime and did not have a weapon.
To subdue McClain, officers used a chokehold that cuts off blood to the brain – a tactic recently banned in several places in the wake of George Floyd’s death last month in Minneapolis.
Paramedics arrived soon after and administered 500 milligrams of a sedative, Ketamine, to calm McClain down.
In less than a week, McClain suffered cardiac arrest, was declared brain dead and taken off life support.
However, the coroner said he was not able to rule out multiple possibilities, including the officers’ actions as contributors to McClain’s death.
The coroner for Adams stated that McClain’s death was ultimately due to ‘undetermined causes.’
In August 2019, 23-year-old Elijah McClain died following a confrontation with the police in the suburban Denver area after he suffered cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital
The incident between McClain (pictured with a ski mask) and the three officers was captured on police body camera
Aurora Police Department officers Nathan Woodyard, left, Jason Rosenblatt, center, and Randy Roedema, right, are at the center of revitalized calls to investigate the death of Elijah McClain
DA Young also said that he did not approve of the three officers’ actions on the night in question.
The cops were placed on leave but returned to the force after District Attorney Dave Young said there was insufficient evidence to support charging them.
‘Ultimately, while I may share the vast public opinion that Elijah McClain´s death could have been avoided, it is not my role to file criminal charges based on opinion, but rather, on the evidence revealed from the investigation and applicable Colorado law,’ Young said Thursday during the interview.
His death has gained renewed attention following the Memorial Day ‘murder’ of black man George Floyd which has thrown the spotlight on several killings of black men and women in police custody across America.
Paramedics with the Aurora Police Department reportedly claimed that McClain (pictured) might have been suffering from ‘excited delirium’ at the time and administered ketamine
McClain (pictured) was in a Colorado hospital for four days, during which time he was put on life support and declared brain dead
Elijah McClain’s last words
‘I can’t breathe. I have my ID right here… My name is Elijah McClain. That’s my house. I was just going home. I’m an introvert.
‘I’m just different. That’s all. I’m so sorry. I have no gun.
‘I don’t do that stuff. I don’t do any fighting. Why are you attacking me?
‘I don’t even kill flies. I don’t eat meat. But I don’t judge people, I don’t judge people who do eat meat.
‘Forgive me. All I was trying to do was become better… I will do it… I will do anything.
‘Sacrifice my identity, I’ll do it. I’ll do it. You all are phenomenal. You are beautiful and I love you. Try to forgive me. I’m a mood Gemini.
‘I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. Ow, that really hurt.
‘You are all very strong. Teamwork makes the dream work.’
On Friday it was revealed the officers were recently moved to ‘non-enforcement’ duties.
Officers Nathan Woodyard and Jason Rosenblatt were moved to desk duty on June 13 while officer Randy Roedema was also re-assigned on June 20,
The Aurora Police Department said the action was ‘done in an effort to protect those officers’ who arrested McClain.
‘They are now working in a non-enforcement capacity,’ Det. Faith Goodrich said. ‘This can be in a variety of different assignments but is usually administrative in nature.’
On Thursday, Governor Jared Polis has signed an executive order designating Attorney General Phil Weiser as a special prosecutor to investigate the case.
‘Whenever someone dies after an encounter with law enforcement, the community deserves a thorough investigation,’ Weiser said in a statement.
‘Our investigation will be thorough, guided by the facts, and worthy of public trust and confidence in the criminal justice system.’
Polis had suggested he could step in and take action over the case earlier this week.