AURORA, Colo. — Three police officers in Colorado have been fired in the fallout over a photograph taken near the site where Elijah McClain was arrested, Interim Police Chief Vanessa Wilson announced Friday. McClain died after officers arresting McClain placed him in a carotid choke hold.
— Meghan Lopez (@Meghan_Lopez) July 3, 2020
Two of the officers seen in the above photo were fired for unbecoming conduct. The officer in the photo wearing a hat resigned earlier this week. A third officer who responded to a text message containing these photos was also fired.
One of the involved officers, Jason Rosenblatt, was also involved in the arrest of McClain, who suffered a heart attack and died after the encounter.
Rosenblatt was not in the photograph but received the photo and replied, "HaHa," Wilson said.
Aurora police on Friday released the pictures of the officers: Erica Marrero, Kyle Dittrich and Jaron Jones. Jones resigned before he was disciplined in the matter. Marrero and Dittrich were fired, along with Rosenblatt
The Aurora Police Association union called the investigation into the photo "a rush to judgment" and said Wilson violated the involved officers' due process rights.
Wilson called the photograph "reprehensible" and said Rosenblatt's involvement in the incident by replying to the picture was "absolutely unacceptable."
The photographs showed three officers imitating the carotid hold used on McClain, who suffered a heart attack and died after the August encounter with police.
The union called the investigation into the photo "a rush to judgement" and said Wilson violated the involved officers' due process rights.
McClain's death became the subject of renewed scrutiny in recent weeks, following the killing of George Floyd and widespread calls for social justice across the country.
McClain, 23, was unarmed when he was encountered by Aurora police on Aug. 24, 2019. Police put McClain in a carotid hold, which limits blood flow to the brain, after stopping him while he was walking home. When he became unresponsive, paramedics gave him ketamine, police have said.
McClain had a heart attack and died six days later.
The officers involved in McClain's death were not arrested or charged, despite continued calls for justice from McClain's family and supporters.
In June, as McClain's death garnered national interest, Gov. Jared Polis appointed Attorney General Phil Weiser to investigate the officers' actions.