Several officers that were employed with the Aurora Police Department have been fired over a disturbing photo that recently surfaced [Source: ABC News]. In the photo, which happened to have been taken near Elijah McClain’s memorial site, one of the officers appears to be putting the other in a chokehold position while all three smiled for the camera. Those officers have been identified as Erica Marrero, Kyle Dittrich, and Jaron Jones.
The photo not only caught the media’s attention because it was taken nearby to McClain’s memorial site but because the officer was holding the other in a carotid control hold (i.e. a chokehold) which is the same move that was used on McClain just before he died.
After interim police chief Vanessa Wilson saw the photo, she later announced that Marrero and Dittrich had been terminated. ABC News says that Jones resigned. Another officer, Jason Rosenblatt, was also fired over the photo after the department learned that he had received the image via text message and replied to it with “haha.” Not only did Rosenblatt fail to report the photos he received, but he was also one of the officers who had responded to the call involving McClain who died while in police custody.
McClain was only 23 years old when he was killed. He had been walking home after purchasing an iced tea and was listening to music when someone reported him as being “suspicious” to the police. He was later approached by officers and placed in a chokehold position. After fainting and being injected with Ketamine, McClain went into cardiac arrest while being transported by ambulance. He was taken off life support a few days later.
After Wilson announced the firing of the four officers, she also had this to say, “We’re ashamed, we’re sickened and we’re angry. While the allegations of this internal affairs case are not criminal, it is a crime against humanity and decency.” In her statement, Wilson added that the officers’ behavior was “reprehensible” and “It [showed] a lack of morals, values, and integrity and a judgment that I can no longer trust to allow them to wear this badge.”
An attorney hired to represent McClain’s family announced that a civil suit will likely be filed in response to the photo.
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