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Aurora Police Officer Nathan Woodyard returns to department after acquittal in death of Elijah McClain in Colorado

Aurora Police Officer Nathan Woodyard reinstated to the department after acquittal
Aurora Police Officer Nathan Woodyard reinstated to the department after acquittal 00:48

Aurora Police Officer Nathan Woodyard will return to the department after he was acquitted in the death of Elijah McClain earlier this month. A jury found Woodyard not guilty of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide in the 23-year-old's death in 2019.

Elijah McClain Arraignment
BRIGHTON, CO - JANUARY 20: Aurora Police officer Nathan Woodyard during an arraignment in the Adams County district court at the Adams County Justice Center January 20, 2023. Aurora Police officers Nathan Woodyard, Randy Roedema and former officer Jason Rosenblatt along with paramedics Jeremy Cooper and Lt. Peter Cichuniec were indicted by a Colorado state grand jury in 2021 on 32 combined accounts related to Elijah McClains arrest and death in August 2019. Andy Cross/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

According to the Aurora Police Department, Woodyard is no longer suspended without pay following his Nov. 6 acquittal. He will reintegrate with the department and is currently on restricted duty. That means he is not in uniform, has no public contact and no enforcement actions pending next steps in the reintegration process. 

In accordance with the Aurora City Charter, Section 3-16(j), "Indictment of a member of the Civil Service, or the filing of an information or felony complaint against him by a prosecuting agency, charging any felony shall be cause for an immediate and indefinite suspension without pay upon order of the Chief, provided that such suspension shall be terminated by restoration to the service or by discharge as soon as the decision of the court becomes final."

The department said the length of the reintegration process will depend on the employee, the length of their extended absence and other circumstances. 

Elijah McClain CBS

"Consequently, Mr. Woodyard would need to undergo reintegration for a period of time as numerous policies and practices at the Aurora Police Department have changed since he was placed on administrative leave without pay in Sept. 2021. Upon successful completion of the reintegration process and after accounting for any other circumstances that may arise, Mr. Woodyard would be eligible for reassignment to a position within the department at the chief's discretion," stated the department in a news release. 

Woodyard is among three Aurora police officers and two paramedics charged in McClain's 2019 death. The trial against the two other officers resulted in a split verdict last month with one convicted of homicide and one acquitted. The paramedics' trial is underway after a jury was seated on Tuesday afternoon. 

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