Elijah McClain, backpay, 200k, officer, police, acquitted

Nathan Woodyard To Be Reinstated On Job And Granted Over $200K Backpay After Acquittal For Elijah McClain’s Murder

Nathan Woodyard, one of the officers implicated in the murder of Elijah McClain, got his job back and received $200,000 in back pay following his acquittal in November.

As BLACK ENTERPRISE previously reported, Nathan Woodyard, one of the officers implicated in the murder of Elijah McClain, was acquitted of the charges. Now, compounding matters, Woodyard has not only gotten his job back, but has also received $200,000 in back pay, according to The Guardian. 

 On Nov. 27, the Aurora Police Department announced via a spokesperson that due to city law, Woodyard was required to be offered his job back and paid the amount of $212,546 to cover the two years of salary he missed while he was placed on leave. Ryan Luby, an Aurora, CO city spokesman, told The Guardian in an email, “[Woodyard] has elected to reintegrate with the APD and is currently on Restricted Duty (not in uniform, no public contact, and no enforcement actions) pending next steps in the reintegration process.”

The killing of McClain in 2019, along with the murder of George Floyd in 2020, served to galvanize protests in opposition to police brutality across the country and spurred conversations about changes in policing. According to PBS Newshour, following the release of a revised coroner’s report in 2021, forensic pathologist Stephen Cina laid the blame for the death of McClain on the erroneous administration of ketamine, a powerful sedative, saying that McClain died because he had been given an excessive dose of the drug for a person of his size. Cina said in the report, “I believe that Mr. McClain would most likely be alive but for the administration of ketamine.”

However, Cina also said that the stress of being held down by the police officers was also at least a contributing factor to his death. 

Cina also testified on Dec 5 during the trial of the two paramedics who injected McClain with ketamine. Aurora Fire Rescue Paramedic Jeremy Cooper and Lt. Peter Cichuniec are charged with manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, and several counts of assault. Cina testified for three hours, telling the court in the process of his testimony, “To me, seeing that footage of a guy who looks worn out but alive to one that looks like he’s about to stop breathing and die, with the only thing being the ketamine injection in between, I felt we couldn’t ignore that, so I determined the cause of death to be complications of ketamine administration following restraint.” 

Defense lawyers attempted to question why Cina’s story appeared to change, but the forensic pathologist maintained that he believed that the ketamine administration was what led to the death of McClain, saying, “I didn’t call it an outright ketamine overdose because it wasn’t at a lethal level, but even this therapeutic level was just too much for this person at that time.”

“He just did not tolerate it well, and he stopped breathing.”

An attorney for the defense asked Cina if he believed that any amount of the drug would have triggered McClain’s response, to which Cina replied, “I don’t know if it was ‘any amount,’ but even this amount, which shouldn’t have killed most of us, sent him into a tailspin, which lead to his respiratory arrest, cardiac arrest, and brain death.”

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