Three Colorado officers: Erica Marrero, Kyle Dittrich and Jaron Jones were in hot water due to photos of police mockingly reenacting a chokehold used to subdue Elijah McClain, said an Associated Press report.
What Happened Last Year?
McCain, a 23-year-old Black man, died last year in Denver after police stopped him on a suburb.
Police body-camera video shows an officer approaching McClain and saying, “Stop right there. Stop. Stop. … I have a right to stop you because you’re being suspicious.”
Other officers join to restrain McClain, he begs them to let go, “You guys started to arrest me, and I was stopping my music to listen.”
The police then started to chokehold him.
The paramedics, later on, injected him with a sedative.
He was taken off life support after suffering a cardiac arrest.
Among those fired is Jason Rosenblatt, an officer who helped stop McClain for wearing a ski mask, therefore questionable-looking.
Mocking Someone To Cheer Up Somebody Else
Officers sent the photos to Rosenblatt and others two months after McClain died to “cheer up a friend,” said acting Police Chief of Aurora, Vanessa Wilson to reporters.
Rosenblatt responded with a text saying, “Haha.”
The officer who put McClain in a chokehold, Nathan Woodyard, also received the photos.
However, he did not get any disciplinary action because he did not respond to the photos.
“We are ashamed, we are sickened, and we are angry,” Wilson said.
The officers may not have committed a crime, but the photographs are “a crime against humanity and decency,” she added.
Nationwide protests over McClain’s death has brought about police reforms.
One of which is the banning of chokehold.
Is This What You Call Justice?
During a rally, McClain’s family, friends, and community activists pointed out the discrepancy in enforcing justice.
It seems like justice was quicker for the mocking photograph than the police brutality that resulted to Elijah’s death.
The two other officers who stopped the young man are still on the force after charges against them were cleared last year.
“Rosenblatt got fired not for killing Elijah, not for murdering Elijah, but for making fun of Elijah,” said Terrence Roberts, a community organizer.
“That is the culture that we’re fighting, where a police officer can murder a black man, a black child,” he said.
Then “keep his job and stay on the force, so he can go make fun of this child.”
None of them: Officers Kyle Dittrich, Erica Marrero and Jaron Jones confronted McClain in August. In the photos taken in October, they smiled and mockingly placed each other in a chokehold near a memorial for McClain.
The authorities terminated Rosenblatt, Dittrich and Marrero for conduct unbecoming of an officer.
Jones resigned earlier this week.