Trial for paramedics in the Elijah McClain case begins and Colorado orders a chemical weapon cleanup

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Third Trial Begins In Elijah McClain Case

Jury selection in the final trial regarding the 2019 death of Elijah McClain is set to begin today. This time, the Aurora Fire Rescue paramedics who administered the sedative, ketamine, to McClain will be tried. 

The two paramedics arrived at the scene along with three Aurora Police officers, when a person called authorities, saying McClain was “sketchy” as he walked home from a convenience store. McClain was restrained by the officers and the paramedics administered ketamine, leading to the 23-year-old’s death days later.

The paramedics are now facing charges of reckless manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and second-degree assault. 

According to 9News Legal Analyst Scott Robinson, the defense is expected to place the autopsy report under a microscope in order to transfer the blame from the paramedics to the police officers. 

He says the original autopsy report, which said McClain’s cause of death was “undetermined”, has noticeable differences from the amended report, where ketamine was the main culprit in his death. 

 

Pueblo Chemical Weapon Cleanup 

The state of Colorado has ordered the U.S. Army to clean up a stretch of land near Pueblo, where highly toxic chemical weapons were stored for decades.

The Army’s 36-square mile Pueblo Chemical Depot along the Arkansas River is contaminated from the chemicals used from World War II to the Cold War era.   

Beginning in 2016, over 2,000 tons of a blister and burn-inflicting liquid were destroyed, releasing toxins into the environment. According to The Denver Post, the toxins can cause liver damage and various forms of cancer. 

Residents of nearby Avondale, say their water supply is already suffering and the cleanup process, if not handled correctly and cautiously, can worsen the situation. 

The Denver Post says there are also bombs and grenades spread across the land, which may still be active. 

Currently, the U.S. Department of Defense owns the land and plans to invest $600 million in cleanup to prevent the prairie from becoming a wasteland. 

Colorado Senators want the land restored by July and hope to gain the land back from the Army in order to build an industrial research facility. 

 

Funeral Home Owners Return To Colorado To Face Charges

The funeral home owners accused of storing decomposing bodies and forging death certificates are back in Colorado to face hundreds of felony counts.

In early October, Fremont county investigators found that Carie and Jon Hallford, owners of Return to Nature Funeral Home, located in El Paso County, were storing nearly 200 decomposing bodies inside the so-called “green” funeral home. 

According to court records, each owner now faces four counts of money laundering, five counts of theft, 50 counts of forgery and 190 counts of abuse of a corpse. 

Each owner’s bail is set at $2 million. Their next court date is Dec. 5.

Carie Hallford requested a lower bail due to her clean criminal record, but the judge denied her request, pointing out her current 250 charges. 

 

Biden To Visit Colorado

President Joe Biden will visit the state this week.

The White House says the President is expected to land in Colorado tomorrow and attend a reelection campaign fundraiser in the Denver area. On Wednesday, Biden will tour the CS Wind Factory in Pueblo, the largest wind turbine manufacturing facility in the world. 

While visiting, Biden will speak about his attempts to increase clean energy and persuade the state to agree on the Inflation Reduction Act signed last year.

Biden was scheduled to visit the state last month but his trip was put on pause due to the Israel-Palestine conflict. 

 

First Cora Indian Elected To Gunnison City Council

A 26-year-old first-generation immigrant has become the first Cora Indian to be elected to the Gunnison City Council. Marisela Ballesteros was elected to council earlier this month, with 940 votes, and will be sworn in Dec. 12. 

Ballesteros is the director of operations of Project Hope of the Gunnison Valley, a nonprofit aimed at providing help to domestic violence and human trafficking victims. She also works as a hairdresser.

Although Gunnison has the highest population of Cora people, they’ve never played a large role in politics, according to Ballesteros. 

She says many from the Cora community have migrated from mountainous land in Mexico and usually don’t speak English or Spanish. With only indigenous language skills, they often live in isolated hubs within Gunnison. 

Her first plan of action focuses on tackling the housing problem in Gunnison. She says the Cora community is working an abundance of hours and cannot afford “sub-par” housing. They’ve also been stripped of mobile home communities.

While many of the Cora people aren’t U.S. citizens and cannot vote, Ballesteros says, “You don’t have to be a citizen to be heard.” 

Ivonne Olivas

Ivonne Olivas

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