Colorado police officers shot after photos mocking the death of a black man’s surface.


DENVER (Reuters) – Three Colorado police officers were fired and a fourth resigned after they shared photos they took of themselves recreating a stranglehold that officers used to subdue a black man who later died, authorities said Friday.

Aurora Police Department officers Erica Marrero, Jaron Jones, and Kyle Dittrich recreate a stranglehold near an Elijah McClain monument in Aurora, Colorado, United States, October 2019. Photograph taken in October 2019. Police Department Aurora / Brochure via REUTERS.

Vanessa Wilson, interim chief of police in the Denver suburb of Aurora, called the officers’ actions around the death of Elijah McClain, who was unarmed, “reprehensible.”

“I am upset to my core,” Wilson said at a press conference announcing the layoffs.

The officers who were fired were named as Jason Rosenblatt, Erica Marrero, and Kyle Dittrich. Fourth Officer Jaron Jones resigned Tuesday.

A photo shows Dittrich and Jones recreating a carotid neck, while a smiling Marrero stands nearby. The images, which were released on Friday by authorities, were taken near the site of the fatal fight.

Rosenblatt, who was among the officers who subdued McClain, was fired for responding “HaHa” after receiving the photo, Wilson said.

McClain family attorney Mari Newman said police not only killed an innocent man, but also felt empowered to “mock” the incident by re-enacting it.

McClain, 23, was walking down a street in Aurora in August 2019 when three officers approached him with reports of a man who was acting suspiciously, even though he had committed no crime.

During the confrontation, McClain said he was unable to breathe, according to audio recordings released by police.

Officers subdued McClain with the carotid choke, and paramedics then injected him with the sedative ketamine. He then suffered cardiac arrest and was removed from life support days later.

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

Colorado Governor Jared Polis has appointed a special prosecutor to review the case, and this week the FBI and the US Department of Justice said they are investigating whether McClain’s civil rights were violated.

Report by Keith Coffman; Editing by Daniel Wallis

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