Two Colorado police officers investigating after violent arrest


Aurora, Colorado (AP) —A Colorado police officer was arrested for felony after showing in a video that he threatened to beat, suffocate, and kill a man who was trying to arrest him with a pistol. A second police officer was also arrested. After authorities said she couldn’t stop her colleague as required by the new police accountability law.

Body camera footage was screened on Tuesday at a press conference on Friday’s incident in the suburbs of Denver, Aurora. Aurora police stations are plagued by numerous police illegal activities in recent years, including the death in 2019. Elijah McLean..

The man repeatedly says, “You’re killing me, your companion,” while Aurora police officer John Howbert holds him down and beats him, the video shows.

“If you move, I’ll shoot you,” says Howbert. Police officers repeatedly say, “Stop fighting,” while the man cries and is out of breath.

The video shows Howbert yelling at the man, rolling his stomach and showing the man’s hand to follow.

“I need water,” the man cries when the body camera footage is over. The man was hospitalized after being arrested on suspicion of trespassing.

Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson called the arrest “a very sneaky act” at a press conference.

“This video will shock your conscience. I’m very worried,” said Wilson, who took over the division last year. “We’re sick. We’re angry. This isn’t a police job. We don’t train this.”

According to an affidavit of an arrest warrant written by an Aurora police detective, Howbert is investigating possible primary, secondary and felony threats attempted in connection with Friday’s case. Denver Post..

According to the document, Officer Francine Martinez has been charged with not intervening to prevent Howbert from using force. The new Colorado police accountability law requires law enforcement agencies to intervene when they witness abuse of power.

Both officers have withdrawn. It wasn’t immediately clear if they had a lawyer.

Howbert and Martinez were dispatched Friday afternoon to investigate reports of trespassing. Police encountered three people with unpaid serious charges and tried to arrest them. According to the documentation, two methods were performed.

Howbert pulled the pistol and aimed at the third suspect who did not resist. Howbert reportedly ordered him to grab the back of his neck, press a gun against his head, hit him with a pistol at least seven times, and lie down on his stomach.

Still images taken from the officer’s body camera footage and included in the swearing affidavit are alleged to indicate that Howbert is choking the man. In the footage, Howbert told the sergeant after his arrest, “I was going to shoot him, but I didn’t know if I had a round on it.” Howbert also said the man’s blood was due to “whistling him with a pistol.”

Police stations with aurora problems have been involved in several cases of armed abuse in recent years. The worst was the death of McLean, a 23-year-old black man. After facing the police Respond to citizens’ calls for “suspicious” people in the neighborhood.

Wilson became the first woman to permanently lead the Aurora Police Station when she got a job in August 2020. At that time, after a turbulent year after McLean’s death, when police officers stopped on the street, the police station sought to regain public trust. For strangler figs.

White Wilson has 23 years of experience at police stations in diverse communities east of Denver, Colorado’s third-largest city. She got a job at three other national finalists-all black men.

Last year, the Colorado General Assembly mandated all police officers to use body cameras by July 2023, banned chokeholds, restricted the use of potentially deadly forces, and removed limited immunity from police. He passed a bill that could expose police officers to lawsuits for actions in use. In the case of coercion.

The 2020 law also prohibits the use of deadly force against suspects who believe police are armed, unless there is an imminent threat that weapons will be used. If a colleague confirms the use of excessive force, an officer must intervene and report such case to his or her boss.

Legislators strengthened the law this year, in part encouraging more police officers to use body cameras and promote “escalation techniques” in encounters with police.

Wilson said he took a leave of absence from the police, released body camera footage, and moved swiftly to shed light on what she said was an “abnormality” in the department trying to do better. .. She apologized to the beaten man.

“This wasn’t the Aurora police. It was a criminal,” Wilson said.


This story has been updated to correct Elijah McClain’s death in 2019 instead of 2018.


The Associated Press writer Thomas Peipert contributed to this report.

Nieberg is a corps member of the Associated Press / Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in the local newsroom to report on unreported issues.