Officers fired for mocking Elijah McClain death

Three Colorado police officers have been fired and a fourth has resigned after they shared photographs of themselves re-enacting a chokehold officers used to subdue Elijah McClain - a Black man who later died.

The officers were named as Jason Rosenblatt, Erica Marrero and Kyle Dittrich. The fourth officer, Jaron Jones, resigned on Tuesday.

One photo depicts Dittrich and Jones recreating a carotid neck hold, while a grinning Marrero stands nearby. The pictures, which were released on Friday by authorities, were taken near the site where the fatal struggle took place.

Rosenblatt was among the officers who subdued unarmed McClain and was fired for responding "HaHa" after receiving the photo, Wilson said.

The McClain family attorney, Mari Newman, said police not only killed an innocent man but felt empowered to make a "mockery" of the incident by re-enacting it.

"A lot of you might be familiar with the Jim Crow South where white supremacists thought it was amusing to take pictures of themselves with lynched human beings, of brutal lynchings and that is exactly what we have seen now today. What we have seen pictures of Aurora police officers taking racist pictures of atrocities just like the Jim Crow south. It is not acceptable then, it is not acceptable now."

23-year-old McClain, was walking along a street in Aurora in August 2019 when he was approached by three officers on reports of a man acting suspiciously, although he had not committed any crimes.

The officers subdued McClain with a chokehold, and paramedics later injected him with the sedative ketamine. He then went into cardiac arrest and was taken off life support days later.

A local prosecutor declined to file charges against the officers or paramedics, citing an autopsy that listed the cause of death as undetermined.

The Colorado Governor has appointed a special prosecutor to review the case, and this week the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice said they are investigating whether McClain's civil rights were violated.

Video Transcript

- Three Colorado police officers have been fired, and a fourth resigned, after they showed photographs of themselves reenacting a choke-hold officers used to subdue Elijah McClain, a black man who later died. The officers were named as Jason Rosenblatt, Erica Marrero, and Kyle Dittrich. The fourth officer, Jared Jones, resigned on Tuesday.

One photo depicts Dittrich and Jones recreating a neck hold, while a grinning Marrero stands nearby. The pictures, which were released on Friday by authorities, were taken near the site where the fatal struggle took place.

Rosenblatt was among the officers who subdued unarmed McClain, and was fired for responding "ha-ha" after receiving the photo.

The McLean family attorney, Mary Newman, said police not only killed an innocent man but felt empowered to make a mockery of the incident by reenacting it.

- A lot of you might be very familiar with the Jim Crow South, where white supremacists thought that it was amusing to take pictures of themselves next to the bodies of lynched human beings, of brutal lynchings. And that is exactly what we have seen now today. What we have seen is pictures of Aurora police officers taking pictures, just like racists in the Jim Crow South, of atrocities. And that is not acceptable. It's not acceptable then and it's not acceptable now.

[APPLAUSE]

- Stop right there.

- 23-year-old McClain was walking along a street in Aurora, Denver in August 2019, when he was approached by three officers on reports of a man acting suspiciously, although he had not committed any crimes.

[MUFFLED CHATTER]

The officers subdued McClain with a chokehold, and paramedics later injected him with the sedative ketamine. He then went into cardiac arrest and was taken off life support days later. A local prosecutor declined to file charges against the officers or paramedics, citing an autopsy that listed the cause of death as undetermined.

The Colorado governor has appointed a special prosecutor to review the case. And this week, the FBI and the US Department of Justice say they are investigating whether McClain's civil rights were violated.