Hearing for fired Aurora officer postponed; petition circulates against officers

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AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — The Civil Service Commission hearing for a fired Aurora police officer who is trying to win his job back has been postponed until January.

Jason Rosenblatt, who was fired for his connection to a photo scandal related to the death of Elijah McClain, was scheduled to argue his case in front of the Commission next week. However, his hearing has been pushed to January 2021.

“The date was changed by order of the commission,” said Michael Bryant, a City of Aurora spokesperson. “The officer wishes to attempt to have an in-person hearing, but the Commission is only able to convene virtually right now because of COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings. The hearing has been reset until next month, at which time the COVID-19 guidance will be reassessed to determine if the hearing may need to be virtual or can be in-person at that time.”

The hearings for two other former officers, Erica Marrero and Kyle Dittrich are still scheduled appear in front of the Commission this month, during the week of Dec. 14, 2020.

All three have asked for the hearings to be closed to the public, according to the City. There will be no public records available until the commission makes a ruling.

The police chief terminated the trio in July, and a fourth officer, Jaron Jones, resigned after a texting scandal linked to the death of Elijah McClain.

Dittrich, Marrero, and Jones were accused of posing, smiling, and simulating the police technique called the carotid control hold in an October 2019 photo near the Aurora location where Rosenblatt and two other officers struggled with McClain a few months earlier before he died. That altercation with McClain  – in which the carotid control hold was administered in an attempt to subdue McClain – is now under local, state, and federal investigation.

The officers who posed in the photograph are accused of texting the photograph to officers who were involved in the altercation, including Rosenblatt, who replied, “Haha.”

A FOX31 investigation found Marrero and Dittrich were also at the scene of the August altercation, offering support to Rosenblatt and Nathan Woodyard, another officer who was involved in the August incident.

Dittrich, Marrero, and Rosenblatt are also named in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by McClain’s family.

Meanwhile, more than 41,000 people signed a Change.org petition aimed at preventing their reinstatement.

“This is 2020 and they played a commonly known page from Jim Crow. These are supposed to be those that ‘serve and protect’ the most diverse community in Colorado,” said Darlene Jones, who started the petition. “That was a son, a brother, a friend, and a light in our community. Many of us are still grieving.”

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