Three Cops Fired For Mocking Elijah McClain’s Death In Chokehold Photo
Three Denver police officers have been fired over a photo which re-enacted the chokehold Elijah McClain was put in by officers before his death.
McClain was killed after an altercation with police while he was walking home on August 24, 2019, after medics administered ketamine to sedate him while police forcibly held him on the ground.
As he was transported to hospital, McClain went into cardiac arrest. He was pronounced brain dead three days later, and later died after being removed from life support.
Although the 23-year-old’s death received little media attention at the time, the unjust events surrounding his death have come to light in the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement, which has shone a light on the police brutality disproportionately suffered by the Black community.
However, protesters and members of law enforcement alike were horrified when an image appeared online, showing three police officers re-enacting the chokehold – in the same location – McClain was put in before his death.
The officers, who have now been fired, have been named as Jason Rosenblatt, Erica Marrero and Kyle Dittrich. A fourth, Jaron Jones, resigned over the incident on Tuesday, June 30.
In the picture, Dittrich and Jones can be seen imitating the neck hold, while Marrero is smiling on their left. However, Rosenblatt was sent the photo by text and responded with: ‘Ha ha’.
Meanwhile, Vanessa Wilson, acting police chief of Aurora, Colorado, where the incident took place, has deeply critcised the alarming image, calling it a ‘crime against humanity and decency,’ adding that it shows a ‘lack of morals, values and integrity’.
At a news conference, she said, as per BBC News:
We are ashamed, we are sickened, and we are angry about what I have to share.
While the allegations of this internal affairs case are not criminal, they are a crime against humanity and decency. To even think about doing such a thing is beyond comprehension and it is reprehensible.
Wilson said she had held off announcing the incident to the public, until she’d had chance to share them with McClain’s family first.
A lawyer for the McClain, Mari Newman, spoke out about the image, telling CBS Denver: ‘The callousness for human life, appalling.’
A number of protests have taken place, calling on the police officers involved in McClain’s death to be held accountable. Demonstrators have also held violin vigils for him, as he was a keen musician who would play his violin to kittens in the shelter.
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