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The acquitted officer, Nathan Woodyard, was the first to attend McClain’s arrest in 2019. A total of three officers and two doctors were charged in the death of McClain, who is believed to have died of cardiac arrest after a chokehold and ketamine injection.
The case initially received little attention, but that changed when George Floyd was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis a few months later. The bodycam footage, among other things, showing McClain saying he is introverted and different, caused great outrage.
Prosecutors ruled that Woodyard “unnecessarily escalated” the arrest, but the jury acquitted him on Monday, The Denver Post reported. Woodyard himself also said he was innocent. His lawyer argued that the officer was not present during the crucial moments when McClain’s condition deteriorated. Bodycam footage shows him walking away during part of the confrontation, according to the Associated Press news agency.
The second officer involved was previously acquitted. A third is guilty, but only of lesser charges. He will later hear his sentence from a judge. Later this month, a jury will consider the role the two doctors played. They allegedly administered an overdose of ketamine to McClain.
An investigation launched after Floyd’s death found that McClain was arrested on the street “for no apparent reason.”
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