Anger about police maltreatment of people of colour has been stoked by a video showing a Colorado police officer pistol-whipping and choking a black man during an arrest.
After responding to a trespassing report, Aurora police located biracial man who identifies as black, Kyle Vinson, and arrested the officer, John Haubert, on suspicion of attempted first-degree assault, second-degree assault, and felony harassing charges.
Reid Elkus, Haubert’s lawyer, has promised to “zealously defend” his client. There were accusations that another cop on the scene did nothing to intervene.
Haubert is seen threatening to shoot Vinson, striking him with his gun, and choking him in body camera footage.
Activists who seek to draw attention to a police department dogged by claims of misconduct in recent years, including as the 2019 death of Elijah McClain, are outraged by the tape.
After receiving a 911 call about a suspicious man in August of 2019, police in his area detained McClain. After wrestling the 23-year-old to the ground, paramedics placed a neckhold on him and injected him with 500 mg of ketamine. A little over a week later, he passed away.
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This isn’t about Elijah or Kyle individually. Lindsay Minter, who coaches high school track and is also a member of the city’s police task team, emphasised that the issue affects the entire community. The students I coach say, “If you come into Aurora, you leave on probation,” and I hear it a lot. Period. They aren’t assured of their security.
On Tuesday, Police Chief Vanessa Wilson labelled Vinson’s situation a “anomaly” and urged the public not to “tar the entire department with the same broad brush.” She placed the police on administrative leave and criticised their handling of the situation, calling it “quite nasty.”
Vinson’s attorney, Siddhartha Rathod, said she was doing the right thing by attempting to shake up the division.
Rathod concludes that race was a factor in how the police dealt with Vinson because of his prior experience.
It seems that both of our clients have been subjected to “hate and disgust” on account of their skin colour, he stated.
Attorney Mari Newman, who is representing Elijah McClain’s father and estate, has noted that she also represented the family of Jamaal Bonner, a young black guy who was shot three times in the back by Aurora police nearly 20 years ago. The settlement reached in the lawsuit included an agreement by police to alter their training and recruitment practises in order to create a police force that is “more like the community they’re policing,” as she put it.
The city of Aurora “went on to continue brutalising Black and brown bodies for decades” despite “these legally enforceable obligations that the city of Aurora made,” Newman added.