Aurora, CO police detain Black family after mistaking their vehicle as stolen

Elias Hubbard
August 4, 2020

A black family traveling in an SUV with children aged six to 17, were detained and handcuffed at gunpoint after police mistakenly thought their vehicle was stolen.

"Why are you now placing these children on the ground face into the concrete?" It's hot! In front of all of us?

"There's no excuse why you didn't handle it a different type of way", Brittney Gilliam said.

Wurtz recorded the incident along with several other witnesses.

The entire incident was avoidable wth simple and basic police work that didn't involve making any contact with the family that included a 6-year-old girl, let alone handcuffing them and detaining them in such an inhumane way. The officer drew their weapon on the family and ordered them out of the auto. Several of the children were handcuffed. "I am committed to leading the Aurora Police Department to be an active and engaged part of this community in building a collaborative and constructive path forward".

The vehicle the family was driving was not stolen. It had Colorado license plates but a motorcycle with the same license plate number from Montana was the vehicle that had been reported as stolen on Sunday. Purportedly, both vehicles shared the same license plate number.

"I want my mother", one of them can be heard wailing on a video of the incident, gasping for air between sobs.

Gilliam said that officers approached the vehicle with their weapons drawn, which immediately stoked fear in the family.

After officers realized the mistake, the family was uncuffed, but more officers continued to arrive. They didn't even tell me to move, secure the scene.

Wurtz filed a complaint with internal affairs.

Sunday's confrontation, which had been viewed more than 1.4 million times on Twitter as of early Tuesday, marks another troubling incident for a police department that has already drawn intense scrutiny over its treatment of Black people. She released the following statement on Monday.

In a statement, the department said, "The Aurora Police Department understands that this is concerning and traumatic for those involved and we again offer our apologies".

Faith Goodrich, a spokeswoman for the police department, told KUSA that there is no written policy about when and how to use the stop, which is also used when officers know or suspect people in a auto are armed. The tactic involves drawing weapons, telling passengers to exit the vehicle and ordering them to lie on the ground.

The department's interim chief, Vanessa Wilson, said police officers must be allowed to deviate from the written procedure depending on the different scenarios they face in the field. She said she had directed her team to look into new practices and training as a result of what happened.

'I have called the family to apologize and to offer any help we can provide, especially for the children who may have been traumatized by yesterday's events. "I have reached out to our victim advocates so we can offer age-appropriate therapy that the city will cover", she said.

Did we mention that the Aurora Police Department is the same law enforcement agency that attacked Elijah McClain, an innocent Black man who was walking home from the store when cops stopped him last year for being "suspicious", used a carotid chokehold on the 23-year-old, then claimed he was in "an "agitated mental state" that prompted paramedics to inject him with the sedative ketamine, inducing first a heart attack, then a coma and then his death".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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