Colorado police officers fired for recreating chokehold

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Colorado police officers fired for recreating chokehold

Postby admin » Sat Jul 04, 2020 5:10 am

Colorado police officers fired for recreating chokehold in photos at Elijah McClain memorial: The officers smiled and posed for chokehold photos where McClain was killed.
by Catherine Thorbecke
abc News
July 3, 2020, 6:21 PM

The Colorado police officers who took disturbing photos at the memorial site where Elijah McClain was placed in a police chokehold and later died have all been terminated from the Aurora Police Department, interim police chief Vanessa Wilson announced Friday.

Four officers were involved in the incident. Officer Jaron Jones resigned earlier this week.

Wilson announced Friday that the remaining officers involved -- Erica Marrero, Kyle Dittrich and Jason Rosenblatt -- have all been fired.

Rosenblatt did not appear in the photos, but was terminated after he responded "haha" when he was texted the images. He also did not report them. Rosenblatt was the only officer involved in the photos who actually responded to the August 2019 arrest that ended up in McClain's death.

"We're ashamed, we're sickened and we're angry," Wilson said in a news conference about the now-former officers' behavior.

"While the allegations of this internal affairs case are not criminal, it is a crime against humanity and decency," she said, calling their actions "reprehensible."

"It shows a lack of morals, values and integrity and a judgment that I can no longer trust to allow them to wear this badge," she said.

Image
Aurora, Colo., police officers Erica Marrero, left, and Kyle Dittrich, right, were both fired for posing at the site of Elijah McClain's death. Jaron Jones, center, resigned earlier this week.Aurora, Colo., police officers Erica Marrero, left, and Kyle Dittrich, right, were both fired for posing at the site of Elijah McClain's death. Jaron Jones, center, resigned earlier this week.

Wilson also revealed the photos, which were taken on Oct. 20, 2019, publicly for the first time. Not only are the officers smiling at the site of the tragedy, one of them shows them recreating the carotid control hold that other officers put on McClain prior to his death.

"All the officers involved should be fired, and they should be fired and not able to be hired in any other department where they will continue to kill," Mari Newman, an attorney representing the McClain family, said at a press conference after the news of the firings.

Newman said she expected a civil suit would be filed.

"We've got a police department and a police association that is rotten to the core," she added.

McClain was a 23-year-old unarmed Black man who died days after he was put in a chokehold and sedated by police when walking home in Aurora after buying iced tea at a local corner store on Aug. 24, 2019, according to his family attorney.

Image
Aurora, Colo., police officers Erica Marrero, left, and Kyle Dittrich, right, were both fired for posing at the site of Elijah McClain's death. Jaron Jones, center, resigned earlier this week.Aurora, Colo., police officers Erica Marrero, left, and Kyle Dittrich, right, were both fired for posing at the site of Elijah McClain's death. Jaron Jones, center, resigned earlier this week.

The Aurora Police Association called the internal investigation leading to the termination of the officers over the photos a "rush to judgement."

"The appearance of impropriety is obvious. It is extremely concerning to the Aurora Police Association that Interim Chief Wilson is willing to disregard the rights of our members and due process that is afforded to all police employees," the union said in a statement.

The union added that they think Wilson is "unfit for the position that she currently holds and should be dropped from the final slate of candidates to be the next Chief of the Aurora Police Department."

ABC News' Bill Hutchinson contributed to this report.
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