USA

Colorado police officers fired after photos mocking death of Elijah McClain surface

DENVER, July 3 (Reuters) - Three Colorado police officers were fired and a fourth resigned after they shared photographs they took of themselves re-enacting a chokehold officers used to subdue a Black man who later died, authorities said on Friday.

Vanessa Wilson, interim chief of police in the Denver suburb of Aurora, called the officers' actions surrounding the death of Elijah McClain, who was unarmed, "reprehensible."

"I am disgusted to my core," Wilson said at a news conference announcing the firings.

The officers who were terminated were named as Jason Rosenblatt, Erica Marrero and Kyle Dittrich. The fourth officer, Jaron Jones, resigned on Tuesday.

One photo depicts Dittrich and Jones recreating a carotid neck hold, while a grinning Marrero stands nearby. The pictures, which were released on Friday by authorities, were taken near the site where the fatal struggle took place.

Rosenblatt, who was among the officers who subdued McClain, was fired for responding "HaHa" after receiving the photo, Wilson said.

The McClain family attorney, Mari Newman, said police not only killed an innocent man but felt empowered to make a "mockery" of the incident by re-enacting it.

McClain, 23, was walking along a street in Aurora in August 2019 when he was approached by three officers on reports of a man acting suspiciously, although he had not committed any crimes.

During the confrontation, McClain said he could not breathe, according to audio recordings released by police.

The officers subdued McClain with the carotid chokehold, and paramedics later injected him with the sedative ketamine. He then went into cardiac arrest and was taken off life support days later.

A local prosecutor declined to file charges against the officers or paramedics, citing an autopsy that listed the cause of death as undetermined.

Colorado Governor Jared Polis has appointed a special prosecutor to review the case, and this week the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice said they are investigating whether McClain's civil rights were violated. (Reporting by Keith Coffman; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

RELATED: Protests in Minneapolis over the killing of George Floyd

17 PHOTOS

Violent protest in Minneapolis

See Gallery

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 27: Fire fighters work to put out a fire at a factory near the Third Police Precinct on May 27, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. A number of businesses and homes were damaged as the area has become the site of an ongoing protest after the police killing of George Floyd. Four Minneapolis police officers have been fired after a video taken by a bystander was posted on social media showing Floyd's neck being pinned to the ground by an officer as he repeatedly said, "I can’t breathe". Floyd was later pronounced dead while in police custody after being transported to Hennepin County Medical Center. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 27: A car burns near the Third Police Precinct on May 27, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. A number of businesses and homes were damaged as the area has become the site of an ongoing protest after the police killing of George Floyd. Four Minneapolis police officers have been fired after a video taken by a bystander was posted on social media showing Floyd's neck being pinned to the ground by an officer as he repeatedly said, "I can’t breathe". Floyd was later pronounced dead while in police custody after being transported to Hennepin County Medical Center. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

MINNEAPOLIS, USA - MAY 27: People continue the second day of protests in Minneapolis on Wednesday, May 27, 2020, over the death of George Floyd. George Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis on Monday night, after an officer held his knee into Floyd's neck for more than 5 minutes. (Photo by Jordon Strowder/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

MINNEAPOLIS, USA - MAY 27: People continue the second day of protests in Minneapolis on Wednesday, May 27, 2020, over the death of George Floyd. George Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis on Monday night, after an officer held his knee into Floyd's neck for more than 5 minutes. (Photo by Jordon Strowder/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

MINNEAPOLIS, USA - MAY 27: People continue the second day of protests in Minneapolis on Wednesday, May 27, 2020, over the death of George Floyd. George Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis on Monday night, after an officer held his knee into Floyd's neck for more than 5 minutes. (Photo by Jordon Strowder/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

MINNEAPOLIS, USA - MAY 27: People continue the second day of protests in Minneapolis on Wednesday, May 27, 2020, over the death of George Floyd. George Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis on Monday night, after an officer held his knee into Floyd's neck for more than 5 minutes. (Photo by Jordon Strowder/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

MINNEAPOLIS, USA - MAY 27: People continue the second day of protests in Minneapolis on Wednesday, May 27, 2020, over the death of George Floyd. George Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis on Monday night, after an officer held his knee into Floyd's neck for more than 5 minutes. (Photo by Jordon Strowder/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

MINNEAPOLIS, USA - MAY 27: People continue the second day of protests in Minneapolis on Wednesday, May 27, 2020, over the death of George Floyd. George Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis on Monday night, after an officer held his knee into Floyd's neck for more than 5 minutes. (Photo by Jordon Strowder/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

MINNEAPOLIS, USA - MAY 27: People continue the second day of protests in Minneapolis on Wednesday, May 27, 2020, over the death of George Floyd. George Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis on Monday night, after an officer held his knee into Floyd's neck for more than 5 minutes. (Photo by Jordon Strowder/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

MINNEAPOLIS, USA - MAY 27: People continue the second day of protests in Minneapolis on Wednesday, May 27, 2020, over the death of George Floyd. George Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis on Monday night, after an officer held his knee into Floyd's neck for more than 5 minutes. (Photo by Jordon Strowder/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

MINNEAPOLIS, USA - MAY 27: People continue the second day of protests in Minneapolis on Wednesday, May 27, 2020, over the death of George Floyd. George Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis on Monday night, after an officer held his knee into Floyd's neck for more than 5 minutes. (Photo by Jordon Strowder/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

MINNEAPOLIS, USA - MAY 27: People continue the second day of protests in Minneapolis on Wednesday, May 27, 2020, over the death of George Floyd. George Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis on Monday night, after an officer held his knee into Floyd's neck for more than 5 minutes. (Photo by Jordon Strowder/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

MINNEAPOLIS, USA - MAY 27: People continue the second day of protests in Minneapolis on Wednesday, May 27, 2020, over the death of George Floyd. George Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis on Monday night, after an officer held his knee into Floyd's neck for more than 5 minutes. (Photo by Jordan Strowder/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

MINNEAPOLIS, USA - MAY 27: Police stand guard as people continue the second day of protests in Minneapolis on Wednesday, May 27, 2020, over the death of George Floyd. George Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis on Monday night, after an officer held his knee into Floyd's neck for more than 5 minutes. (Photo by Jordan Strowder/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

MINNEAPOLIS, USA - MAY 27: People continue the second day of protests in Minneapolis on Wednesday, May 27, 2020, over the death of George Floyd. George Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis on Monday night, after an officer held his knee into Floyd's neck for more than 5 minutes. (Photo by Jordan Strowder/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

MINNEAPOLIS, USA - MAY 27: Police stand guard at protestors from the roof of the 3rd precinct on Wednesday, May 27, 2020, during the second day of protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis on Monday night, after an officer held his knee into Floyd's neck for more than 5 minutes. (Photo by Jordan Strowder/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

MINNEAPOLIS, USA - MAY 27: People continue the second day of protests in Minneapolis on Wednesday, May 27, 2020, over the death of George Floyd. George Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis on Monday night, after an officer held his knee into Floyd's neck for more than 5 minutes. (Photo by Jordan Strowder/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

HIDE CAPTION

SHOW CAPTION

Football news:

Liverpool are close to buying a defender for Olympiakos Tsimikas. Medical check-up-this week
Barcelona intends to sign Bernardo Silva. City can get Semeda
Real are planning to buy Dybala and are ready to include Kroos or ISCO in the deal (Sport Mediaset)
Conte about Inter before the 1/4 Europa League: we Continue to progress, we become stronger
Piontek is Interesting to Fiorentina. Herta wants just over 20 million euros
Barzagli or Grosso will replace Pirlo in Juventus U23
Daudov about Akhmat: I am Sure that the team will Interact better with each new game