December 9, 2023

In this file photo dated June 27, 2020, protesters carry placards as they walk down Sable Boulevard during a rally to march over the death of 23-year-old Elijah McClain in Aurora, Colo.

David Zalubowski | AP

Three Colorado police officers and two paramedics were charged with manslaughter and negligent homicide in the 2019 death of Elijah McClain, a young black man, the attorney general said Wednesday.

McClain, 23, died less than a week after being stopped by police while walking on a street in Aurora, Colorado on August 24, 2019.

Police had confronted the massage therapist after receiving an 911 call reporting that McClain was acting suspiciously, wearing a mask and waving his arms.

“I can’t breathe, please,” McClain pleaded with the cops as they held him in police videos.

The amount of ketamine McClain was injected to calm him down was reasonable for a man 50 pounds heavier than his 140 pound body, according to an independent research 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, said in a statement after the charges became known: “Nothing will bring my son back, but I am grateful that his killers are finally brought to justice.”

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Attorney General Phil Weiser said all five of the defendants were charged by a state grand jury convened earlier this year after a local prosecutor refused to bring charges on the controversial case, which took place in suburban Denver .

The 32-point indictment charges all five defendants, each with a single charge of manslaughter and negligent homicide, while some defendants face other charges.

The defendants are Nathan Woodyard and Randy Roedema and ex-cop Jason Rosenblatt. Jeremy Cooper and Peter Cichuniec are the paramedics charged.

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser speaks during a press conference announcing charges against the three Aurora police officers and two Aurora fire paramedics over the death of Elijah McClain on Wednesday, September 1, 2021.

Aaron Ontiveroz | MediaNews Group | The Denver Post via Getty Images