DA reviewing Aurora parking lot incident for criminal charges

Published: Aug. 7, 2020 at 1:37 PM MDT
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AURORA, Colo. (KKTV/AP) - The 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler has ordered his office to review all the evidence related to an incident earlier this week when Aurora police detained a black family and made them lie on their stomachs in a parking lot.

According to the Associated Press, Aurora police were looking for a stolen vehicle on Aug. 2 when they pulled the family over. A video taken by a bystander shows the children, ranging in age from 6 to 17 years old, in a parking lot.

The video shows the 17-year-old and 12-year-old lying on their stomachs with their hands cuffed behind their backs and a 14-year-old girl lying next to the 6-year-old also on their stomachs in a parking lot next to the car.

They can be heard crying and screaming as officers stand with their back to the camera. A woman on the other side of the car is shown being led away in handcuffs.

“Public accounts of the incident in a parking lot near Iliff and Buckley are very concerning,” Brauchler said. “Everyone is entitled to be treated equally under the law. No one is above the law. If our investigation determines that the officers involved committed a crime, I will not hesitate to file charges and prosecute them. I intend to investigate this matter thoroughly and with appropriate haste. I will announce the outcome of our investigation to the public upon its conclusion.”

Police later determined they had stopped the wrong car. They were looking for a stolen motorcycle with Montana plates. The car the family had been had the same license plate number but with Colorado plates.

“My hope and our system’s obligation is for all citizens to be treated with dignity and respect during encounters with law enforcement officers,” Brauchler said. “I know Chief Wilson has also ordered an internal affairs investigation and is examining her agency’s training and procedures. That is appropriate, but that is separate from a criminal investigation.”

Aurora police did apologize for the mixup, and Chief Vanessa Wilson offered to pay for the family’s therapy.

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