Officers involved in Elijah McClain case now on non-enforcement duties

Problem Solvers

AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) -The FOX31 Problem Solvers have learned the three officers who were involved in the altercation with Elijah McClain have been placed on “non-enforcement” duties at the Aurora Police Department.

Nathan Woodyard, Jason Rosenblatt, and Randy Roedema are each serving duties that do not require direct, face-to-face interaction with the general public. They are not in positions in which they will take law enforcement actions. This could include administrative work, paperwork, or other similar duties.

Woodyard and Rosenblatt were moved to “non-enforcement” duties on June 13, 2020, and Roedema was moved to the new assignment on June 20, 2020. A spokesperson for Aurora Police indicated one reason for the move is for the officers’ safety.

Various police and city employees have received death threats in recent weeks, according to a spokesperson for Aurora PD.

The three officers did not face criminal charges for their involvement in the case but they all served seven days of paid administrative leave last August.

Lori Jane Gliha will have the latest on the case and any new details tonight on FOX31 News at 5.

McClain was wearing a mask on the night of Aug. 24, 2019 when someone called 911 to report that he seemed suspicious.  McClain often wore the mask while jogging, according to his family and friends. He was not committing a crime and was unarmed when police approached him.

McClain was confronted by three police officers, injected with ketamine by paramedics and later died.

“It was a call for a suspicious person,” Woodyard said during an internal interview immediately after the incident last year. “Somebody called in and said they saw a suspicious person wearing a ski mask.”

Woodyard said he felt safe approaching McClain with the two other officers because McClain “didn’t have any weapons or anything I could see in his hand,” he said.

Rosenblatt said the three men “somehow” ended up against a brick wall with McClain, but his plan was to take McClain to the grass.

“I hear somebody say, ‘He’s reaching for a gun,’ and in my mind, that really escalated things,” he told an investigator with the Aurora Police Major Crime/Homicide Unit and another investigator from the Denver Police Department who interviewed him the morning of Aug. 25, 2019.

Roedema said he immediately grabbed McClain by the head with both hands and pulled him down so he was bent over. 

“Officer Woodyard was like, ‘Hey, I’m going to apply the carotid (control hold)’…Officer Woodyard said, ‘Hey, let me know when he goes out. Let me know when he goes out,’ So while he was applying that, I attempted to put him in a bar hammer lock,” said Roedema.

Aurora police recently banned the carotid control hold, which involves applying pressure to a person’s carotid artery to restrict blood flow to the brain.

Meanwhile, several celebrities are working to bring attention to McClain’s case. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Viola Davis, Padma Lakshmi, Ellen Degeneres, Kevin Bacon and Tracee Ellis Ross among many others, have all posted tributes to McClain on social media.

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