Elijah McClain died after police put him in a chokehold and a medic injected him with ketamine, Denver, Colo. Photo: MGN Online

A paramedic out of the two involved in sedating a young Black man to death while he was subjected to a chokehold by U.S. police has been sentenced to four months of probation with 14 months of work release instead of being imprisoned.

Jeremy Cooper, 49, a former paramedic with Aurora Fire Rescue, was found guilty in December of criminally negligent homicide in connection to the passing of 23-year-old Elijah McClain, who tragically lost his life following an altercation with law enforcement in Colorado.

McClain experienced a cardiac arrest while in the ambulance shortly after his vigorous arrest.

In the midst of the incident, Cooper administered ketamine, a potent sedative, to McClain, an anemic patient, while he was under police custody.


This occurred subsequent to the officers’ use of force to subdue him and their placement of a neck restraint. McClain experienced cardiac arrest and passed away several days later while receiving medical care at a hospital.

Despite the homicide, Cooper was handed over 14 months of work release in jail along with four years probation at a court in Colorado and provision of work release, according to U.S. media.

Work-release programs usually mandate that inmates stay in jail during nights and weekends, but they are permitted to leave for work on weekdays, making it technically free of prison walls for the person it is handed over to.

McClain’s mother told the judge prior to the April 26 sentencing that she blamed McClain’s death on everyone who was present that night, not just those who were convicted.

“Eternal shame on all of you,” Sheneen McClain said.

She said Cooper failed to provide any assistance to her son following his restraint by the police, and neglected to assess his pulse, breathing, or inquire about his well-being before administering an overdose of ketamine.

Community activists, who had organized demonstrations and marches demanding responsibility in the matter, were also angry. “The American legal system has shown itself to be broken,” said Hashim Coates, a community activist.

“I guess one could say that it is a step that we are here over a Black life being taken, but outside of that, it’s business as usual.”

The other paramedic Peter Cichuniec was sentenced last month to five years in prison for criminally negligent homicide and second-degree assault by the judge who presided over the April 26 hearing. Among all the responders, Cichuniec faced the most serious charges, while the sentence he received was the minimum allowed by law.

Previously, Judge Mark Warner sentenced Officer Randy Roedema to 14 months in jail for criminally negligent homicide and misdemeanor assault.

McClain was killed a few months before the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May 2020, but it gained renewed attention when protests against police brutality intensified during the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests.

His name became a symbol of unity in demonstrations against racial inequality in law enforcement that spread across the U.S. in 2020. (PressTV.ir)