Aurora officer says paramedics responsible for Elijah McClain’s death
The Denver Gazette published an article after a legal battle over a court filing showing experts testifying that McClain died from a ketamine injection, not a carotid artery.
DENVER — Nathan Woodyard, one of three Aurora Police Department officers accused of causing the highly publicized death of Elijah McClain in August 2019, asked a judge to dismiss the charges against him.
Woodyard’s attorneys say Woodyard’s actions could not have killed McClain, in part because Woodyard was not near McClain when paramedics gave McClain a high dose of ketamine.
This was all revealed in court documents first obtained by the Denver Gazette.
In mid-April, after requesting all documents related to the McClain case for the past few months, Gazette reporter Julia Cardi received a few dozen documents from the Adams County Clerk’s Office.
“When I got home and started going through all the files for the past two months, I realized there were a few that needed to be deleted,” Cardi said in an interview with 9NEWS. .
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One of the documents supposed to be deleted or sealed was a motion from Woodyard’s attorney to dismiss the charges.
“They present evidence based on testimony from medical experts who told the grand jury…that their opinions were that the ketamine injection was the primary, if not the only, cause of Elijah McClain’s death,” Cardi said. .
The story was to be published on the Gazette website on Tuesday. But just before that happened, trial judge McClain banned the Gazette from publishing the story, saying it would jeopardize the concept of grand jury secrecy and the defendants’ right to a fair trial. In legal terms, the judge imposed what is called a “prior hold”.
“It’s just considered a really aggressive form of censorship that’s presumptively unconstitutional,” Cardi said.
Three days later, after a challenge by the Gazette, the judge reversed his order and said they could publish on Monday. And they did. Cardi said it was a victory for the public’s right to know and for the First Amendment.
“Even in cases of national security or competing constitutional interests, the Supreme Court is very reluctant to allow advance restraint,” Cardi said.
In addition to Nathan Woodyard, two other Aurora police officers and two Aurora paramedics face a total of 32 criminal charges, including manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide, in connection with the death of McClain.
All five are due back in court in August for a status hearing.
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