Four Aurora Police Department officers are now out of a job following an investigation into photos they took of themselves at the site where 23-year-old Elijah McClain was put in a chokehold by police before dying last summer.
The photos show Kyle Dittrich, Jared Jones, and Erica Marrero smiling and pretending to recreate a carotid restraint at the location in Aurora, Colorado which had become a memorial to McClain’s life in the months after his death.
Jason Rosenblatt, an officer who was involved in the incident that killed McClain, has been fired as part of the investigation into the hateful photos. According to NPR, Rosenblatt responded “haha” when he was sent the photos, which the disgraced cops said that they took to cheer up their fellow officer.
Interim Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson revealed the photos in question at a press conference announcing the firings:
“We are ashamed, we are sickened and we’re angry,” Wilson added, saying she spoke for the whole police department.
Wilson announced that along with Rosenblatt, two officers who appeared in the photos, Kyle Dittrich and Erica Marrero, have been fired. Another officer in the photos, Jaron Jones, resigned earlier this week.
Investigators have been probing the taking of photographs near the site where McClain was forcibly arrested. The site became a memorial to the 23-year-old who died in police custody. He was not suspected of committing any crime.
The photos were taken in October of last year at the site where McClain was apprehended by Rosenblatt and other officers in August 2019, put in a chokehold, and then injected with ketamine by medics who were called to the scene.
Protestors gathered outside of the Aurora Police Department on Friday after the reveal of the photos, renewing their calls for all of the officers involved in the killing of McClain to be fired:
Unsurprisingly, the police union in Aurora is not happy that cops are facing repercussions for their own inhumane behavior.
“This investigation is a rush to judgement,” said the Aurora Police Association in a statement about the firings. “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.”
If I didn’t know better, I’d think the “appearance of impropriety” and “disregard of due process” was about police officers taking selfies to mock the killing of a young Black man whose right to life was stolen from him by those sworn to serve and protect.
But I guess they believe rights and considerations should be reserved for cops and not lowly citizens—especially those of us with melanin.