Headlines – October 18, 2023


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Nathan Woodyard Trial Begins

The trial of a police officer charged in the 2019 death of Elijah McClain resumes in an Adams County courtroom today.

Opening arguments were yesterday, in Nathan Woodyard’s trial on charges of reckless manslaughter and negligent homicide.

Woodyard was the first of three officers to detain Elijah McClain four years ago, after someone reported him as “sketchy.” McClain was walking home from a convenience store and was not suspected of any wrongdoing. Prosecutors say Woodyard put McClain in a neckhold that left him unconscious. When he regained consciousness, McClain vomited and proceeded to choke on his vomit.

The officers called paramedics, who injected McClain with the sedative ketamine. McClain went into cardiac arrest and died several days later.

Prosecutors argue that the neckhold created medical complications for McClain that made him vulnerable to a ketamine overdose. They also argue that Woodyard used unnecessary force instead of following police training protocols.

Woodyard’s defense argued that the ketamine was the only cause of death and denied that Woodyard’s neckhold played a part in McClain’s death.

Woodyard, who is currently suspended from the Aurora police department, is the third officer to go to trial in Elijah McClain’s death. Officer Randy Roedema was convicted of criminally negligent homicide while Jason Rosenblatt was acquitted of all charges. 

Woodyard’s trial is expected to last three weeks. The paramedics who injected McClain will be tried next month.


Train Derailment Cause Revealed

Investigators say a broken rail may be the cause of a train derailment that killed a truck driver near Pueblo. The train derailed and a bridge collapsed Sunday afternoon, spilling coal and rail cars over Interstate 25. 

Federal officials have reported early indication that the broken rail is the cause of the derailment, but are continuing to investigate the incident.

The National Transportation Safety Board said they are unsure why the alarm systems didn’t alert the crews of the track’s condition. I 25 remained shut down in both directions yesterday, as the site is cleared and the investigation continues.


Boulder PD Safe Commute Protocol

 The Boulder Police Department begins Operation Safe Commute, today.

From 2 to 10 p.m. today, there will be an increased presence of Boulder County Police officers patrolling the streets. They will be employing various traffic safety strategies to raise awareness for a safe commuting environment. 

Following road safety concerns, the operation’s main goal is to educate commuters on the rules of the road.

The sheriff’s office is calling for commuters to adhere to responsible and undistracted driving, which is essential for preventing crashes. They also encourage commuters to report dangerous driving.


Colorado Department of Corrections Settlement

The Colorado Department of Corrections, or CDOC, has reached a settlement with a person who was incarcerated after placing him in a dry cell for twelve days, nearly five years ago.

In 2018, a corrections officer at Sterling Correctional Facility allegedly saw Zackariah Jones swallowing something and strip searched him. After finding no contraband, Jones was restrained and placed in a dry cell. 

A dry cell is a form of confinement for those suspected of carrying drugs and other banned substances in their bodies. Individuals are subjected to 24-hour lights, and have no access to water, a sink, shower or toilet. Jones was confined in the cell for twelve days and suffered negative health effects, according to his lawyers.

Jones passed the drug test and no signs of contraband were found. CDOC says they were following a legal policy that allows officers to confine incarcerated individuals in a dry cell until a “substantial amount” of waste is produced to rule out contraband substances. 

Jones’ lawyers say the CDOC policy is violating the 8th amendment, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. 

On Tuesday, the law firm representing Jones announced CDOC agreed to pay $500,000 in settlement funds and change a contraband policy. The policy will now require officers to offer laxatives to incarcerated individuals during a contraband investigation and involve a medical professional during investigations longer than 72 hours. 


Chain Of Hate Crimes Committed In Light of Palestine-Israel Conflict

Hate crimes targeting Palestinian and Arab individuals in Denver and surrounding areas have grown in number over the last week, according to the American Arab Anti-discrimination committee, or ADC. 

In a statement released yesterday, ADC said children of Palestinian or Arab descent that attend schools in Denver have expressed safety concerns, saying that teachers are singling them out and peers are bullying them. 

ADC also said that gunshots were fired at a Palestinian American family’s home in Greenwood Village.

The family had received death threats over the phone previous to the shooting. Nobody was hurt from the incident but ADC urges targeted individuals to report incidents to prevent a chain of hate crimes. 


Ballots Sent Out Across Colorado This Week

Ballots are going out to voters in Colorado this week. The last day to register to vote online or by mail is Oct. 30, but those who miss that deadline can register in person at a voting center on the day of elections. Boulder County asks that voters wait until next week to ask the office for a replacement ballot. They also suggest voters check that their addresses are updated at least eight days before election day, to receive a ballot by mail.

Ballots must be received by 7 p.m. on Nov. 7.

Picture of Ivonne Olivas

Ivonne Olivas


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