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.
You can view the image here:
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:
— CBS News (@CBSNews) July 3, 2020
There was a considerable response to McClain’s memory and the officers’ behavior on social media.
“I’m an introvert. I’m just different. That’s all. I’m so sorry. I have no gun.”
SAY HIS NAME
I stay haunted. pic.twitter.com/ng5CIO2qDK
— ClevyRicch (@ClevyRicch) July 1, 2020
I will never get past him apologizing while he was being murdered. Apologizing for doing nothing wrong.
— The Sassiest Semite (@LittleMissLizz) July 3, 2020
He looks so innocent and sweet, every time I see a picture of him my heart just cry’s a little
— E💋 (@goldenxlizz) July 2, 2020
His last words…
“You all are phenomenal. You are beautiful and I love you. Try to forgive me” pic.twitter.com/B430BomeAZ
— 𝔧𝔢𝔯𝔢𝔪𝔶 (@SoulLegit) July 5, 2020
A peaceful protest also took place in Colorado, seeking justice for the 23-year-old.
Protestors getting ready to march down to Aurora Police Station from site Elijah McClaine put in chokehold. Group putting on march, Party for Socialism and Liberation of Denver are demanding officers get charged with murder. pic.twitter.com/FsjOi8QeYy
— Jacqueline Quynh (@jquynhreports) July 3, 2020
It’s a beautiful evening to demand justice for Elijah McClain. Please join the group at:
13347 E Montview Blvd., Aurora CO
— DandyLion514 (@DandyLion514) July 4, 2020
The energy is beautiful. Strong. Safe. Folks have surrounded the Aurora police station (district 1) and are demanding the termination of the remaining 2 of the 3 cops who actively killed Elijah McClain.#APDoccupation pic.twitter.com/mmf0zuTcO4
— elisabeth epps is tired. (@elisabeth) July 4, 2020
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.