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LaWayne Mosley, father of Elijah McClain, wears a t-shirt with is son's picture on it during a press conference in Oct. 2019. Photo: Andy Cross/MediaNewsGroup/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Interim Aurora, Colo., police chief Vanessa Wilson fired two officers for reenacting the death of 23-year-old Elijah McClain and a third officer for commenting on the photo that captured the "despicable act," The Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: McClain died in the summer of 2019 after police officers held him in a chokehold and paramedics used a sedative, ketamine. People have been protesting McClain's death recently after the police killing of George Floyd revitalized the movement against police brutality.

What they're saying: Wilson said she fired Officers Erica Marrero and Kyle Dittrich for posing with Jaron Jones, who resigned earlier this week. Wilson called the photo a "despicable act," per the Post.

  • "And if any officer in this police department disagrees and thinks this was acceptable, I will gladly accept your resignation today."
  • Jason Rosenblatt replied "ha ha" to the image when he received it, the Post notes.

The state of play: The renewed focus on McClain's death prompted Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) to reopen an inquiry and appoint a special prosecutor to the case.

  • No police officer has been charged with McClain's death.

Context: A coroner's report concluded McClain died because of "undetermined causes" and the "evidence does not support the prosecution of a homicide," NBC reports.

  • However, the coroner did not rule out that the chokehold and ketamine might have contributed to his death.
  • The coroner "could not exclude the possibility that Mr. McClain suffered from an unexpected reaction to the drug."

Editor's note: Updates with additional details.

Go deeper

Updated Sep 24, 2020 - Politics & Policy

In photos: Protests erupt across U.S. after Breonna Taylor decision

Protesters rally in Louisville, Kentucky, on Sept. 23 after the grand jury decision. Photo: Jeff Dean/AFP via Getty Images

Thousands of protesters rallied into the night across the U.S. in response to a grand jury's decision not to charge the three Louisville, Kentucky, police officers involved in the shooting of Breonna Taylor with murder or manslaughter.

Why it matters: The decision to indict only former officer Brett Hankison for wanton endangerment for firing shots into neighboring apartments, rather than on charges directly related to Taylor's death has triggered huge nationwide protests against racism and police brutality on a scale not seen since summer demonstrations over the death of George Floyd.

"Not enough": Protesters react to no murder charges in Breonna Taylor case

A grand jury on Wednesday indicted Brett Hankison, one of the Louisville police officers who entered Breonna Taylor's home in March, on three counts of wanton endangerment for firing shots blindly into neighboring apartments.

Details: Angering protesters, the grand jury did not indict any of the three officers involved in the botched drug raid on homicide or manslaughter charges related to the death of Taylor.

Off the Rails

Episode 4: Trump turns on Barr

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Drew Angerer, Pool/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 4: Trump torches what is arguably the most consequential relationship in his Cabinet.

Attorney General Bill Barr stood behind a chair in the private dining room next to the Oval Office, looming over Donald Trump. The president sat at the head of the table. It was Dec. 1, nearly a month after the election, and Barr had some sharp advice to get off his chest. The president's theories about a stolen election, Barr told Trump, were "bullshit."