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Date: 12-23-2023

Case Style:

State of Colorado v. Jeremy Cooper and Peter Cichuniec

Case Number:


Court: Distict Court, Arapahoe County, Colorado

Plaintiff's Attorney: District Attorney Arapaho County Dolorado

Defendant's Attorney:

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Description: Aurora, Colorado criminal defense lawyers represented the Defendants charged with negligent homicide.

Jeremy Cooper and Peter Cichuniec, two Aurora, Colorado fire department paramedics were charged with violation of Title 18. Criminal Code § 18-3-105. which provides:

Any person who causes the death of another person by conduct amounting to criminal negligence commits criminally negligent homicide which is a class 5 felony.

The Defendants were called to the scene of a confrontation between Aurora police officers and Elijah McClain, an unarmed, 23-year-old Black man who was injected with ketamine after he was stopped by police in 2019. They gave McClain too large a dose of the drug, a sedative, for his size and didn't properly monitor him afterwards. He went into cardiac arrest and died several days later.

The Arapaho County District Attorney refused to indict the Defendants but a Colorado grand jury indicted three police officers and the two paramedics in 2021. One officer was convicted of criminally negligent homicide. The other two were found innocent.

The officers responded to a 911 call that said McClain was acing strangle and was wearing a ski mask. McClain, a massage therapist who played the violin at rescue facilities for animals awaiting adoption, would get cold easily and wear a mask for comfort, .

McClain was walking home from a convenience store two items he had purchased. When the officers did not like the way he responded to their question, they put him in a choke hold which made it difficult for him to breath. The paramedic gave McClain an 500 mg injection of the drug when 326 mg would have been the appropriate dose. McClain went into cardiac arrest.

The State asserted that McClain should not have been given the drug at all.

Outcome: Cichuniec was found guilty on an assault charge and Cooper was acquitted. Both paramedics were acquitted on an assault charge for intent to cause bodily harm.

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