AURORA, Colo. — Moments before the only Aurora police officer convicted in the death of her son was sentenced, Sheneen McClain on Friday delivered emotional victim impact testimony to an Adams County courtroom.
Randy Roedema was sentenced to 14 months for a third-degree assault conviction and four years probation for criminally negligent homicide in the 2019 death of Elijah McClain during his fatal encounter with police.
Sheneen McClain stepped up to the microphone, grabbed a tissue and asked the court to “please give me a moment” before pausing to collect her thoughts.She then gave powerful, ten-minute remarks aimed at Roedema, who was seen on video directly behind her.
The following is the full transcript and video of her remarks.
Please give me a moment. Hello. My name is Sheneen McClain. I am the mother and present parent of Elijah McClain.
I raised Elijah alone without help from family members or his absent parent. I'm sure you do not know what that feels like, so let me continue. I appreciate the opportunity to speak today for my son, Elijah, my other children and myself. I stand here before my God, the people of Colorado and humanity everywhere.
I was taught that parents should raise their children so that someone else can be around that child. That means the child needed to learn values and morality, about how to properly interact with other family members at social events, including in work environments. I was also taught that a child should not be supported, rewarded or praised when they make a mistake, but they should instead be encouraged to correct that mistake and not lie to cover up their wrongdoing.
It is painfully obvious that my son's murderer was not taught the same values about humanity and kindness that I was. They were not taught. Roedema was not taught the valuable lessons of life's purpose. Elijah McClain had no criminal activity or record at the time of his murder on Aug. 24, 2019. Elijah was a young adult who had his whole life ahead of him. Once Elijah turned 18 years of age, Elijah's health issue, every health issue Elijah had as a child, he studied and he overcame on his own. My son, Elijah McClain, was a healthy young man the night Randy Roedema chose to show my son the power and privileges of the boys in blue.
Peace Officers are not — I said Peace Officers are not — supposed to be murderers. But that is what Randy Roedema became the night he bullied my son to death. If an individual is trained to view others based on their race, or if an individual is trained to be a brutal machine of force, that individual becomes incapable of showing kindness to people of diversity, and communities everywhere. At what point in time does that individual choose his own humanity instead of the inhuman protocols of his training?
Randy Roedema stole my son's life away, and in the eyes of my God and human loss everywhere, theft is a crime. All the achievements in the world becomes a person's past once that person changes into a monster. Our communities cannot know peace until we see the Justice Department hold their own enforcers accountable. My son will never be a dad, an uncle, or a grandfather. Randy Roedema stole my son's life. All the belated apologies in the world cannot remove my son's blood from Randy's hands. Prison is the only accountable justice that Randy Roedema deserves. He does not deserve probation. He does not deserve his freedom with his family. Randy Roedema has earned a maximum prison sentence held up by Adams County, Colorado judicial services.
I do not want any restitution from my son's murderer. Elijah McClain was a few months old when I was told by my church Bishop that Elijah had healing hands and was destined to be a spiritual leader. Elijah McClain taught himself how to play various instruments and fell in love with the violin. Elijah McClain taught himself how to draw and was getting his finances together so he could attend art school one day. Elijah McClain was a massage therapist who became a massage therapist at the early age of 18, so that he could better provide for the kind of lifestyle he wanted to live. Elijah McClain is my second oldest child of six children. Elijah McClain was the only person in my known family's history that had achieved a career at such an early age. Elijah McClain was a person who believes in respecting other people's boundaries, because he wanted his boundaries respected in return.
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Elijah McClain loved music. He loved dancing. He loved singing. He loved animals, and he was grateful for his life. My son Elijah McClain was murdered more than four years ago by Randy Reodema, his co-workers and their accomplices on Aug. 24 2019, in Aurora, Colorado, in a brutal attempt to display some type of expertise, experience and privilege, Randy Roedema brutalized my son Elijah McClain to death. There was no reason for Randy Roedema to treat Elijah the way he did to the point of no return. Elijah McClain spoke English, so there was no way he was misunderstood. Instead, he was ignored and bullied by individuals who took an oath to protect our communities.
That night on Aug. 24, 2019, protecting our community was the furthest thing from Randy Roedema's mind. Randy Roedema was, is, and will always be a bully with the badge. Elijah McClain did not understand why he was being attacked by police officers and why he was being arrested. Elijah McClain was already handcuffed. Elijah McClain just needed to sit up so he could breathe better. Elijah McClain just needed to sit up so he could correctly remove the blood and vomit from his lungs. Elijah McClain just needed someone to listen to him and respond appropriately for clarity. Elijah McClain was held down by Randy Roedema and tortured by Randy Roedema in numerous ways, for no other reason except Elijah was different.
It doesn't matter how my son was different. What matters is that my son was not like Randy Roedema. Randy Roedema was enjoying himself so much that he did not let Elijah go until Elijah's lifeless body was transferred to a gurney, where was Randy Roedema's humanity and kindness that night? There was no reason for Randy Roedema to put his knee and my son's back and sit on my son's chest. Randy heard my son cry and beg for his life. Randy heard my son's body parts shift under the weight of Randy's torturous tactics. Randy knew he was wrong but continue to operate as a barbarian instead of a peace officer.
There was no reason for Randy to apply pain techniques and Elijah's arms and wrists. There was no reason for Randy to have my son's arms in such a way that Randy heard a pop. There was no reason for Randy to slam my son to the ground while Elijah was just wanting to sit up to breathe. I watched the body cam videos over and over again so that I would know when my son's last words were spoken. And who was the reason for that?
I have sat through the trials, looking for some form of regret, remorse or guilt on the faces of my son's murderers and their supporters. I have found none. I have listened to the trials to see if I can hear it in their voices. But instead I only heard lies and blaming others for their trained cruelty. I said trained cruelty. I heard no humanity or accountability from the actions of committing a murder, a murderous crime, while on duty. There was no evidence of kindness in their eyes. There was no humiliation in their fake smiles and there was no goodness in their demeanor. Instead, I found arrogance. I found ego and I found that privileged attitude. I am here to witness if Randy Roedema will receive full punishment in prison for his crime and brutalized and torturing my son, Elijah McClain to death.
What Randy Roedema did to my son, Elijah McClain, that night is called murder. Regardless of how it's classified with legal protocols, and legal confusing words. My son was murdered with intent and malicious based on the body cam videos that are now being viewed by the entire world. No matter what happens here today, no matter what Randy Roedema is sentenced to Randy Roedema will always be a bully with a badge ... that use his power and some of the most horrific and evil ways.
The world knows that my son was innocent and never should have been stopped. The world knows that Aurora, Colorado's policy enforcers have been racially trained through biased beliefs. The world knows you, Randy Roedema, as an evil person in the history of Colorado, as well as the history of the world's events. Elijah McClain will always be the hero and Randy Roedema will always be the villain. Divine justice for my son Elijah McClain. Thank you, your Honor.