In this photo of 'archive of June 27, 2020, demonstrators wear despancartes as they walk down Sable Boulevard at a rally and death march for 23-year-old Elijah McClain in Aurora, Colo. David Zalubowski | AP
Three Colorado police officers and two paramedics have been charged with manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide in the 2019 death of Elijah McClain, a young black man, the attorney general said on Wednesday state.
McClain, 23, died less than a week after being arrested by cops while walking on a street in Aurora, Colorado, on August 24, 2019, strangled and injected with ketamine, a sedative.
Police confronted the massage therapist after receiving a call to 911 indicating that McClain was acting suspiciously, wearing a mask and waving them arm.
"I can't breathe, please " McClain pleaded to the cops as they held him back, police video shows.
The amount of ketamine injected into McClain in an effort to sedate him was appropriate for a man weighing 50 pounds more than his 140-pound body, according to an independent investigation commissioned by the City of Aurora.
Aurora Police said McClain "resisted contact, a fight ensued and he was taken into custody.
McClain's father , LaWayne Mosley, in a statement after the charges were announced, said: "Nothing will bring my son back, but I am grateful that his killers are ultimately held accountable.
The prosecutor General Phil Weiser said all five of the defendants had been indicted by a state grand jury that met earlier this year after a local prosecutor refused to press charges in the controversial case, which occurred in a suburb of Denver.
The 32-count indictment charges all five Defendants with a single count of homicide manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide, some defendants facing other charges.
The officers charged are Nathan Woodyard and Randy Roedema, as well as ex-cop Jason Rosenblatt . Jeremy Cooper and Peter Cichuniec are the paramedics who have been charged. Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser speaks at a press conference announcing the indictment of the three police officers from Aurora and of two Aurora paramedics in the death of Elijah McClain on Wednesday, September 1, 2021. Aaron Ontiveroz | MediaNews Group | The Denver Post via Images
"Our goal is to seek justice for Elijah McClain, for his family and friends and for our state, " Weiser told reporters on Wednesday.
The death of McClain arose the summer before the police murder of George Floyd, another black man, in May 2020 by cops in Minneapolis . " Floyd's murder sparked nationwide protests and broad calls for police reform.
Floyd had also stated that he couldn't breathe as a cop knelt on and around his neck for over 9 minutes.
In June, a " judge sentenced former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin, who was convicted at trial, to 22 and a half years in prison for the murder of Floyd.
Three other elders the police officers who witnessed Floyd's death by Chauvin are to be tried on related charges in March.