Colorado Police Officers Fired After Photo Emerges Of Them Mockingly Recreating Elijah McClain’s Death


Elijah McClain, at the age of 23, was seen walking home from a convenience store last August. Someone reported seeing a suspicious-looking individual, who was waving their arms and wearing a ski mask.

McClain frequently wore a mask in public, due to his anemia. McClain was approached by four police officers.

The officers performed a chokehold on McClain and later requested he be sedated with ketamine when paramedics arrived to offer assistance.

McClain reportedly went into cardiac arrest while riding in the ambulance to the hospital and died six days later, after being declared brain-dead and being taken off of life support.

The McClain family fought for justice for McClain’s death for months but to little effect. With the death of George Floyd and rise in protests, McClain’s death has received new attention.

In the initial investigation, all four police officers were able to maintain their rank and positions within the police department and were not charged or reprimanded for their involvement in McClain’s death.

This month, amidst the renewed investigation, however, the four officers lost their jobs, due to a highly distasteful joke they decided to share.

Erica Marrero, Jaron Jones, and Kyle Dittrich, three of the four police officers involved, were recently together at the memorial site for McClain, where they took a selfie smiling and reenacting the chokehold used on McClain.

The three officers sent the picture to the fourth officer in the original group, Jason Rosenblatt.

Rosenblatt replied: 


You can view the image here: 

L-R: Erica Marrero, Jaron Jones, and Kyle Dittrich / Credit: Aurora Police Department

Marrero, Dittrich and Rosenblatt were all fired for their behavior.

Jones resigned from his position before he could be fired, but it was noted he is not suitable to be hired in any other police department in the state of Colorado.

The three officers who sent the selfie claimed: 

“[We were just trying] to cheer up a friend.”

Interim Police Chief Vanessa Wilson, however, announced:

“They don’t deserve to wear a badge anymore.”

You can see more from Wilson’s statement, as well as her sharing the selfie, here:

There was a considerable response to McClain’s memory and the officers’ behavior on social media. 

A peaceful protest also took place in Colorado, seeking justice for the 23-year-old. 


The investigation into McClain’s death has been reclassified as ongoing, as more research goes into the police officers’ involvement, McClain’s health conditions and the use of the sedative prior to McClain’s death.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit