A Colorado police officer who reportedly mocked the death of Elijah McClain by staging a photo of the young Black man being choked by police last year has resigned.
Aurora officer Jaron Jones tendered his resignation on Thursday, days after it was revealed that he and two other officers had participated in a photo reenactment of McClain’s killing.
“Jones was one of the employees involved and depicted in the photograph investigation related to #ElijahMcClain,” the Aurora Police Department said in a tweet announcing the officer’s resignation.
McClain was stopped last August as he walked home from a convenience store. Three white officers tackled McClain and at least one put him in a chokehold. Paramedics called to the scene injected him with ketamine to sedate him. The 23-year-old went into cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital and died days later after being pronounced brain-dead. He was never accused of a crime.
The officers involved in his death were all cleared of wrongdoing this February. But in June, following renewed outrage amid protests sparked by the police killing of George Floyd, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) said he would have the case reexamined.
Jones and two other officers who have not yet been identified reportedly mocked the death of McClain by reenacting the chokehold at a memorial site in Aurora last October. Interim Police Chief Vanessa Wilson said she learned of the photo last week.
On Saturday, a violin memorial was held for McClain, who used to play the instrument at an animal shelter for stray cats and dogs. The peaceful protest was broken up by officers wielding batons and pepper spray.
The Aurora Police Department said it plans to announce updates on the status of the other two officers involved in the photo reenactment.