On July 27, during a highly unusual press conference, Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson screened excerpts from body-camera footage to show why two of her officers, John Haubert and Francine Martinez, had been arrested for the incredibly brutal July 23 arrest of Kyle Vinson.
In the video, Vinson is choked, pistol-whipped and more by Haubert, gasping out repeated cries of “Help!,” “Don’t shoot me!” and “I can’t breathe!”
A statement from Rathod Mohamedbhai LLC, the law firm representing Vinson, sums up the incident with this: “The harrowing body camera footage of Officers Francine Martinez and John Haubert’s vicious, unprovoked assault illuminates the ongoing issue of police violence, particularly against communities of color.”
Rathod Mohamedbhai also represents the mother of Elijah McClain, the unarmed 23-year-old Black man who perished after a torturous encounter with Aurora Police officers in August 2019. The fallout from McClain’s death was a major factor behind “A New Way,” the Aurora Police Department’s police-reform plan, announced in October 2020. But the APD had a long history of excessive force and alleged bias, with more than a dozen people of color abused by Aurora cops between 2003 and 2019.
During that span, the Aurora Police Department routinely denied any wrongdoing in cases that the City of Aurora eventually settled for millions in taxpayer dollars, with the delayed release of body-camera footage a common occurrence. The APD issuing clips of Haubert and Martinez in action just days after Vinson was bloodied and beaten stands in stark contrast to these previous tactics, as do statements from Wilson, who excoriated the behavior captured in the recordings.
“This is not police work,” she said. “We don’t train this. This is not acceptable.”
Here’s a video showing the arrest of Vinson, who was targeted for alleged trespassing along with two other men; they managed to run away from Haubert and Martinez:
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