Thu. Jun 20th, 2024

Paramedic Peter Cichuniec sentenced to 5 years in prison in death of Elijah McClain

By 37ci3 Mar1,2024

A Colorado paramedic was sentenced Friday to five years in prison in the 2019 death of Elijah McClain, a black pedestrian who was given a fatal dose of ketamine after a standoff with police.

In December, the jury found for Peter Cichuniec and Jeremy Cooper found guilty of manslaughter. Cichuniec was also convicted of second-degree assault by illegal administration of drugs.

Cichuniec was sentenced Friday to five years in prison, the Associated Press reported.

Cooper’s sentencing is scheduled for April.

Cichuniec broke down in tears as his wife, who spoke on his behalf before the sentencing, also cried. He continued to cry as he rebuked his two sons.

In his speech, Cichuniec said McClain’s inability to tell his mother that her son was OK “devastated” him.

On the stand, McClain’s mother, Sheneen McClain, said Cichuniec should be held responsible for her son’s death. After the verdict, he left the courtroom with his fist in the air.

Police encountered McClain, 23, in Aurora on the night of Aug. 24, 2019, after someone called them to report a suspicious person wearing a ski mask — which McClain’s family said he regularly wears because of a blood disorder that makes him feel cold.

Officers eventually tackled McClain and paramedics administered the injection the powerful sedative ketamine. After the injection, McClain lost a pulse in the ambulance and went into cardiac arrest and died six days later on August 30.

Photo: Paramedic Jeremy Cooper
Paramedic Jeremy Cooper and his wife in Adams County Court in Brighton, Colo., on Dec. 1.Philip B. Poston / Sentinel Colorado via AP file
Photo: Paramedic Peter Cichuniec
Paramedic Peter Cichuniec and his wife in Adams County Court in Brighton, Colo., on Dec. 1.Philip B. Poston / Sentinel Colorado via AP file

The The Adams County coroner pronounced McClain dead from “complications of ketamine administration after forced restraint”.

Moment an independent study commissioned by the city It found that Aurora police had no reason to use force to detain or stop McClain, and that the responding paramedics sedated him with ketamine “without doing anything more than a brief visual observation.”

“This kind of reckless behavior that kills a young man … is a crime,” Sheneen McClain’s attorney said, adding that he knew Cichuniec had given McClain too much ketamine and had him prone and vomiting within six minutes.

Cichuniec and Cooper are the last two of five first responders to face criminal charges in connection with McClain’s death.

Cooper was the doctor on call and was responsible for the safety of the crew and patients. According to a 2021 grand jury indictment, Cichuniec ordered ketamine from the emergency room and Cooper injected it.

Aurora Police Officer Randy Roedema was convicted of manslaughter and third-degree assault in October; he was was sentenced in January imprisonment up to one year and two months.

Officers Nathan Woodyard and Jason Rosenblatt were charged but acquitted by a jury.

Aurora Fire Rescue has made changes since McClain’s death, including restructuring the medical department to increase emergency procedures and incident control, in addition to a required review of the use of sedatives, Chief Alec Oughton said.

This develops the story. Please check for updates.

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By 37ci3

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