Elijah McClain: A paramedic sentenced to five years in prison for a US man’s death

After police placed Elijah McClain in a chokehold, a paramedic gave him a deadly amount of sedative by injection. The paramedic has been sentenced to five years in jail. In December, it was decided that paramedics Peter Cichuniec and Jeremy Cooper had committed criminally negligent homicide. At a hearing in April, Cooper will find out Peter Cichuniec’s punishment, which was handed down on Friday. Public attention to the 2019 assassination of the 23-year-old Black guy was originally lacking. However, after George Floyd’s killing in Minnesota triggered widespread racial justice demonstrations against police violence, it came under increased scrutiny a year later.


In addition, Cichuniec, 51, was found guilty of second-degree assault for choosing to give McClain an injection of the potent tranquilizer ketamine. Three police officers from the Aurora neighborhood of Denver stopped McClain, a massage therapist, as he was making his way home from a convenience shop. They were responding to a report of a “sketchy” person in the area. In the altercation that ensued, he was put in a chokehold. His repeated statements to the officers, captured on bodycam footage, were, “I can’t breathe.”


Before giving McClain the maximum amount of ketamine, the paramedics, according to the prosecution, neglected to do basic medical examinations on him. Three days later, he passed away after being taken off life support; he never recovered consciousness. In addition, they had neglected to check on him and had left him laying on the ground, making it impossible for him to breathe. According to Colorado Public Radio, Cichuniec’s wife and family were with him in court on Friday. He sobbed as he told the judge, “There are many, many tragedies in my career, but there are people I wish I could say they are OK, but I can’t.”


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