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Officers fired over photos near Elijah McClain memorial will make case for reinstatement next month

Three Aurora officers were fired after photos depicting a choke hold near a memorial for McClain surfaced earlier this year.

AURORA, Colo. — Three Aurora police officers who were fired after a photo showing two them depicting a choke hold near the site where Elijah McClain struggled with officers prior to his death will appeal their terminations at hearings next month.

McClain died on Aug. 27, 2019 – five days after he went into cardiac arrest following a confrontation with Aurora officers. He was detained after a report of a “suspicious person” in the area. McClain’s family said he had been walking to the store to get iced tea, and was wearing a ski mask because he was anemic.

>the video above is about a ketamine ban in Aurora following McClain's death

Officers used a carotid hold on McClain and first responders later gave him ketamine, a sedative. He went into cardiac arrest in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. A coroner’s report found his cause of death inconclusive, and the 17th District Attorney’s Office declined to file charges against the officers involved.

RELATED: Family of Elijah McClain files lawsuit against Aurora

Erica Marrero, Kyle Dittrich, and Jason Rosenblatt are each scheduled for hearings in front of the Aurora Civil Service Commission in December, a city spokesperson said.

Marrero, Dittrich, and a third officer are in the photo which was taken on Oct. 20, 2019, in the 1700 block of Billings Street. The three officers were on-duty and had just completed a call in the area when they took the photos near McClain’s memorial.  The other officer resigned before any disciplinary action was taken.

Dittrich and Marrero filed appeals on July 8, according to a spokesperson for the city. Marrero and Dittrich will argue their cases on Dec. 14 and 15.

On July 9, the city spokesperson said they also received an appeal of termination from Jason Rosenblatt, who not in the photo but was sent the picture in a message and was fired for responding "ha ha."  

Rosenblatt was one of the three officers who responded the night of McClain’s encounter. He is also suing the city as a result of his termination and will argue his case beginning Dec. 9. 

RELATED: Aurora officer involved in Elijah McClain photo scandal suing chief, city manager over termination

All three have asked for the hearings to be closed to the public, according to the city, who said is their right under the City Charter.

RELATED: Aurora officer resigns after photo scandal related to Elijah McClain

While prosecutors declined to fille charges against any of he officers involved in McClain’s death, including Rosenblatt, the Colorado attorney general has now been appointed as a special prosecutor, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ) are eying a federal civil rights investigation.

RELATED: Aurora Police, Fire defendants deny wrongdoing in Elijah McClain civil lawsuit

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