DENVER (KDVR) — The defense for Nathan Woodyard, an Aurora Police officer on trial for the 2019 death of Elijah McClain, rested their case Thursday.
The trial began on Oct. 17. Woodyard took the stand Wednesday, and closing arguments are scheduled to take place in court Friday morning.
In an effort to put the blame on paramedics, the defense called an emergency medicine physician to the stand, who testified paramedics on the scene didn’t follow protocol before injecting McClain with an “excessive dose” of ketamine.
“They’re just standing around, they’re not interacting, they’re not assessing, they’re not getting down on their knees and asking anything, they’re solely just absorbing what they’re seeing and perhaps what they’re hearing around them,” Dr. Nadia Iovettz-Tereshchenko said of the paramedics on scene.
Iovettz-Tereshchenko testified the paramedics should have checked McClain’s vitals. blood pressure and coherency before giving any medication.
“If you’re just choosing a treatment without doing an assessment, you have no way to determine if that treatment is appropriate for that individual,” she said.
Woodyard, who is suspended from the force, is charged with reckless manslaughter of the 23-year-old McClain.
Two other officers involved in the case stood a separate trial earlier this year. One was found guilty, and the other was acquitted of all charges.
What happened to Elijah McClain?
In August 2019, McClain was walking home from a convenience store when he was stopped by police. Someone had called 911 saying McClain, who was wearing a runner’s mask and jacket and listening to music, seemed “sketchy.”
An autopsy found that the ketamine was what killed McClain.
However, prosecutors claimed McClain’s death was set in motion by Woodyard’s carotid neck hold, along with the physical force he and other officers used to hold McClain in a prone position that restricted his breathing, all before he was given ketamine.
Closing arguments in Woodyard’s trial will take place Friday morning.
Two paramedics are also charged in McClain’s death, and their trial is slated to begin in November.
FOX31’s Andrea Henderson and The Associated Press contributed reporting.