An outrageous amount of audacity, gall and gumption are apparently unwritten requirements for joining the boys in blue.
At least, this is what I thought when I heard former Denver officer Jason Rosenblatt, who was involved in the police encounter leading to Elijah McClain’s death in 2019, filed a lawsuit over being fired. He was fired last year following an investigation into photos of Aurora police officers reenacting a chokehold at a memorial site for McClain.
According to the Associated Press, the suit filed against the Aurora police chief and city manager alleged that Rosenblatt was denied his right to an independent review board before Chief Vanessa Wilson fired him.
Imagine screaming, “My rights!” after playing judge, jury and executioner on a city sidewalk.
Judge Peter Michaelson approved an agreement by both sides to dismiss the case with prejudice. Both sides will pay for their own legal fees.
The Root reported about the photos in which former officers Kyle Dittrich, Jared Jones and Erica Marrero were smiling and recreating a carotid restraint in front of the site where police put McClain in a chokehold.
Three officers are shown smiling in one photo taken on Oct. 20, 2019, and in another one has his arm around another’s neck in a fake chokehold like the one used on McClain. One officer texted the photos to Rosenblatt — who was one of the officers involved in McClain’s fatal arrest — and he responded “ha ha.”
Three of the officers, including Rosenblatt, were subsequently fired and Jones resigned before the investigation concluded.
The photos reignited calls for the firing of officers involved in McClain’s death.
On Aug. 24, 2019, officers approached McClain while he was walking down the street. Unbeknownst to McClain, someone called 911 reporting the 23-year-old for looking “suspicious.” When he continued walking, the officers tackled him to the ground as he pleaded for his life and held him in a chokehold until paramedics arrived. The paramedics injected McClain with 500 mg of ketamine. He suffered cardiac arrest in the ambulance and was declared brain-dead when he reached the hospital. McClain was taken off life support a week later and died on Aug. 30, 2019.
Earlier this month, a grand jury indicted Rosenblatt, current officers Nathan Woodyard and Randy Roedema and two paramedics, Jeremy Cooper and Lt. Peter Cichuniec, on 32 criminal charges, including manslaughter.