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Colorado Police Chief Fires Three Officers Over Reenacted Chokehold Placed On Elijah Mcclain

Three police officers in Aurora, Colo., were fired Friday for their links to a disturbing photo showing the gleeful reenactment of a chokehold at the site of Elijah McClain’s deadly arrest last summer. Colorado Police Chief Fires Three Officers Over Reenacted Chokehold Placed On Elijah Mcclain

Colorado Police Chief Fires Three Officers Over Reenacted Chokehold Placed On Elijah Mcclain

Now-Former Officers (From Left) Officers Erica Marrero, Jaron Jones And Kyle Dittrich Are All Smiles Reenacting The Chokehold.

Interim Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson announced the terminations of officers Erica Marrero and Kyle Dittrich at an afternoon press conference, saying they willingly posed for the smiling photo with former officer Jaron Jones, who resigned earlier this week.

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Wilson said she also fired officer Jason Rosenblatt, one of the three white officers involved in McClain’s arrest, because he received the photo by text and responded “haha.”

“We are ashamed, we are sickened, and we are angry,” a visibly upset Wilson said, calling the officers’ actions “a crime against humanity and decency.”

She said the officers tried to explain themselves by claiming they were only “trying to cheer up a friend by sending that photo.”

Rosenblatt and his fellow arresting officers encountered McClain, a massage therapist, around 10:30 p.m. Aug. 24 after someone called 911 to report him wearing a ski mask and waving his arms suspiciously.

Prosecutors say Rosenblatt tried to use a chokehold known as a carotid hold on the 23-year-old black man but couldn’t because of his position, so another officer performed the dangerous maneuver that has since been banned.

McClain politely and repeatedly begged the officers to relent and apologized for vomiting while being subjected to the carotid hold, according to body-cam video.

“I’m sorry, I wasn’t trying to do that, I can’t breathe correctly,” he said.

Paramedics later injected McClain with 500 milligrams of the powerful sedative ketamine.

McClain suffered a cardiac arrest and died three days later after he was declared brain dead and taken off life support.

It was two months after McClain’s death that Rosenblatt received the photo of the mimicked chokehold and replied with the apparent chuckle.

Police released two photos Friday showing Marrero, Dittrich and Jones allegedly reenacting the chokehold and also just posing with smiles on their faces near the memorial to McClain at the site of his controversial arrest.

“The fact that three on-duty, in-uniform police officers thought that it was appropriate to reenact the murder, jokingly, shows that the department is rotten to the core,” McClain family lawyer Mari Newman said Friday.

She said McClain’s mother, Sheneen McClain, was heartbroken by the photos.

“For her, it was just devastating to see that people were mocking the murder of her son,” Newman added.

According to McClain’s family, he wore a ski mask to stay warm due to anemia and to treat his anxiety.

Colorado Police Chief Fires Three Officers Over Reenacted Chokehold Placed On Elijah Mcclain

Elijah Mcclain Died On Aug. 30, 2019, After Being Detained By Police.

McClain’s autopsy report released last year said the cause of his death was “undetermined” but could have been related to the carotid hold and the ketamine.

The coroner noted McClain had chronic asthma.

McClain’s death garnered fresh attention in the wake of George Floyd’s May 25 death in Minneapolis.

Floyd, a 46-year-old unarmed black man, died after white officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds during a caught-on-video arrest that sparked massive protests around the country.

Chauvin was later charged with second-degree murder.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis ordered the state attorney general to reopen McClain’s case last week after prosecutors previously cleared the officers who confronted him.

The two other officers involved in McClain’s arrest remain on the force as authorities look into possible criminal charges.

 

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