AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — Three former Aurora police officers who, in January and February, appealed their terminations to the Aurora Civil Service Commission during private hearings, will not get their jobs back on the force according to a decision by the Commission.
“I fully supported [Aurora Police] Chief Wilson’s firing of Officers Dittrich, Marrero and Rosenblatt, and am encouraged that the Civil Service Commission agreed and upheld her decision,” Aurora City Manager Jim Twombly said Tuesday in a statement.
Former officer Jason Rosenblatt was fired for his response to a photo text message sent by other former officers in which they appeared to mimic the police control technique used to subdue Elijah McClain during a 2019 police altercation prior to McClain’s death.
Rosenblatt responded to the text message with “haha.”
The chief fired him and two of the three officers who appeared in the photo: Erica Marrero and Kyle Dittrich.
Marrero and Dittrich appealed their terminations at the beginning of this month.
“Upon receiving the photo Officer Rosenblatt had several options available to him much more appropriate and less risky than responding, ‘Haha,’” the commission wrote in their six-page findings in Rosenblatt’s case. “He could have deleted the text. He could have ignored the text and sent no response. He could have reported the text to his superiors. He could have expressly told the sender he strongly disapproved of the text and not to send him anymore.”
“At a minimum, he could have inquired as to who sent him the photo. Any of those responses required little thought or effort by Officer Rosenblatt and would have avoided adverse consequences for him. Instead, Officer Rosenblatt made the conscious decision to respond to the unknown sender in a manner that, if read by the public would portray Officer Rosenblatt, his fellow officers and the Aurora Police Department in a deplorable light,” they wrote.
The Commission produced a similar report in the cases of Marrero and Dittrich.
“Taking the photos, and then disseminating them to others with no control over who [sic] they might ultimately view them, while perhaps not malicious, demonstrated a severe lapse of judgment by Officers Marrero and Dittrich,” the Commission wrote. “The revelation of their misconduct one month after George Floyd’s death resulted in catastrophic harm to the Department’s relationship with the community, not to mention harm to fellow officers and pain to the McClain family.”
An investigation by NewsNation affiliate KDVR 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.
Following the commission’s decision, Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson issued this statement:
“The Civil Service Commission plays an independent role in ensuring our community is being served by police officers of the highest quality. I too share that very important role and support it by retaining police officers who embody that high standard. Aurora police officers are expected to serve our community with dignity, respect and a sense of humanity. I am pleased with the Civil Service Commission’s decision to uphold my discipline of Mr. Dittrich, Ms. Marrero and Mr. Rosenblatt. I want to thank City Manager Twombly for his faith in me and my decisions. We are aligned in our commitment to providing our community the police department they deserve. This supportive decision of the Civil Service Commission enables us to take another step forward on our path to a new way in rebuilding trust with our community through transparency and accountability.”Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson
Read the commission’s full findings related to Jason Rosenblatt.
Read the commission’s full findings related to Erica Marrero and Kyle Dittrich.