Three Colorado police officers have been fired for taking a selfie reenacting the murder of Elijah McClain. The Aurora Police Department previously put the officers on paid leave pending an internal investigation.
During a news conference, interim Police Chief Vanessa Wilson displayed the photos where officers Jaron Jones, Erica Marrer, and Kyle Dittrich demonstrated a carotid hold while smiling near the site of McClain’s memorial. Jones resigned earlier this week. "It is a crime against humanity and decency," Wilson said after announcing their terminations, according to CBS.
On Aug. 24, 2019, McClain was approached by Aurora officers Nathan Woodyard, Jason Rosenblatt, and Randy Roedema, after they received a call about someone wearing a ski mask and flailing his arms. Soon after, Woodyard placed McClainin in a carotid restraint and held him to the ground for 15 minutes.
Audio from the incident is extremely disturbing, as McClain is heard saying that he wasn’t resisting arrest, as well as instances where he’s gasping for air, sobbing, vomiting, and apologizing for it. McClain died on Aug. 30 after being injected with a lethal dose of ketamine during the arrest to “calm him down.”
The selfies mocking McClain’s tragic death were reportedly taken to “cheer everybody up.” An investigation opened last week after the discovery of the selfies. Although these officers have been terminated, the officers involved in McClain’s murder have not been fired or charged.
"APD's conduct is no different than that of white supremacists of at the height of the Jim Crow South who snapped smiling pictures of themselves at the scenes of brutal, lethal lynchings of black men, keeping the images of torture as souvenirs or even turning them into postcards to send to friends," the family said in a statement condemning the photos, per CBS.