Four years after Elijah McClain lost his life at the hands of Colorado police, a jury on Thursday came to a split decision regarding the two officers involved in the 23-year-old’s death.

According to NewsOne, one of the officers involved, suspended Aurora Police officer Randy Roedema, was found guilty of criminally negligent homicide and third-degree assault. The other, former Aurora officer Jason Rosenblatt, was acquitted. Roedema has been suspended without pay since the incident, while Rosenblatt was fired in 2020 after he responded “ha ha” to a picture he was sent by other officers, which depicted one of the officers choke-holding another officer near a memorial for Elijah, NBC News reported.

Rosenblatt and Roedema, who both pleaded not guilty to charges of reckless manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and assault causing serious bodily injury to Elijah, are the first two of the five officers involved in the incident to face trial. Two paramedics who gave powerful sedatives have also been charged and are set to go to trial at a later date.


Elijah’s mother, Sheneen McClain, who sued the city of Aurora and was awarded a $15 million settlement, shared an emotional message after the verdict, NewsOne reported. 

“This is America and it was never great to the nations of people that were captured, enslaved, raped, and murdered for their lands or their labor,” Sheneen told Denver7 in a statement. “America needs to start telling the truth about its history and changing the way it treats all the people that pay into its systems of control. America is divided in so many ways, on so many levels, and in so many areas of understanding.”

Sheneen continued, explaining that the verdict proves that America is a far cry from being a great nation.

“If America ever wants to be great, then it has to enforce equity as well as equality that is represented in every law and seat that every citizen is governed by,” she said. “Don’t say sorry to me for humans that fail even their own kind. My soul still cries out for Divine Justice For My Son Elijah McClain.”

Jury selection for the second trial in Elijah’s case started this week, as Nathan Woodyard — the first Aurora officer to confront Elijah — will stand on trial for his role in the 23-year-old’s death. Woodyard is facing a charge of reckless manslaughter, after it was determined that he grabbed Elijah just seconds after ordering him to stop, and held him down before other officers  helped him overpower Elijah.

Like Sheneen, many are upset by the verdict, including Lindsay Minter, a community organizer in Aurora.

“I’m appalled. This is not enough for the murder of Elijah McClain,” she said, according to The Guardian.

She added that “negligent homicide” did not capture the gravity of the officers’ actions that day.

“There is no accountability for killing a Black life. Black lives don’t matter here in Aurora,” she said. “It’s horrible to know that I live in a county that thinks this is OK.”