Colorado Paramedic Sentenced to Five Years in Death of Elijah McClain

By Bergen Greenley

AURORA, CO – Peter Cichuniec, a 51-year-old Colorado paramedic convicted in the 2019 death of Elijah McClain, was sentenced to five years in prison last Friday, according to the New York Times

McClain died after being illegally injected with 500 mg of Ketamine by paramedics, sending him into cardiac arrest and leading to his death days later in the hospital.

A young Black man, the New York Times notes his killing was highlighted in the Black Lives Matter movement and helped spark protests nationwide around police reform.

His sentence represents one of the rare cases of criminal prosecution of emergency medical personnel, wrote the NY Times, adding paramedics and firefighters are now concerned their daily split-second decisions made in their jobs can now be criminalized.

The New York Times reports that Cichuniec, former lieutenant with Aurora Fire Rescue, was convicted of criminally negligent homicide and second-degree assault for the wrongful administration of drugs in December, and that in three consecutive trials, four other police officers and paramedics have been prosecuted in state district court.

About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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