The Colorado Aurora Police Department accuses its license plate reader of misidentifying a “stolen” vehicle after the video went viral and shows a black family with young children threatened and traumatized by several police officers. It’s just the latest police example terror. The incident would probably not have attracted much attention if a viewer hadn’t recorded a video.
The video that was released Twitter and is incredibly disturbing to look at, showing four children between the ages of 6 and 17 face down on the hot sidewalk, some of them in handcuffs. A woman, Jennifer Wurtz, who was in the parking lot, started recording the encounter on her cell phone.
“The next thing I know is that the police are silently keeping their hands on them and putting guns on the children,” Wurtz told local NBC TV partner 9news.
The child on the far left is only six years old, a 14-year-old girl on her right, then a 17-year-old girl and a 12-year-old girl on the far right. The 12-year-old was handcuffed, but the 6-year-old girl was not, at least at the time that Wurtz started filming. On the video you can hear the children crying and crying and wondering what happens to them. At least one of the kids shouts, “I want my mom.”
The video shows the cops telling viewers to resign, a common police tactic that was also used when a white policeman killed George Floyd by pushing his knee against Floyds Neck until he was dead while horrified spectators asked him to stop.
Aurora police claim that the family’s minivan’s license plate matches the license plate of a Montana motorcycle that has been reported to be stolen 9news. Gizmodo was unable to independently verify this claim and Aurora PD did not respond to a request for comment early Tuesday morning.
“I fully understand this anger and I don’t want to reduce that anger, but I will say it was not a profiling incident. It was a hit that came through the system and they have a picture of the vehicle that the officers saw, ”said Vanessa Wilson, Aurora police chief ABC7.
However, this explanation makes no sense since the stolen vehicle was a motorcycle and the family was driving a minivan. If the police saw an “image of the vehicle” through their license plate reading software, it should show a motorcycle. And at least common sense should have taken over.
The adult driver of the car, Brittney Gilliam, was reportedly taking her children and nieces to get their nails done when the police approached with guns drawn. Gilliam stole her car in February, but was reportedly recovered the next day, another element that may have resulted in incompetent policing in this case.
The police apologized online in writing, but their letter contained a long section that tried to justify the use of guns on children.
“We have trained our officials that if they turn to a suspected stolen car, they should take a so-called high-risk stop,” the statement said said. “But we have to give our officials discretion and deviate from this process when there are different scenarios. I have already instructed my team to deal with new practices and training. “
The police have offered to pay for all therapy sessions that the children may need due to the trauma of their encounter with so many police officers, which, according to local news reports, eventually included over a dozen officers.
Aurora PD has had numerous cases of extreme behavior in the past few months. In an incident in March, a police officer pulled his gun at a colored man who drove into his own parking garage in a medical clinic.
Aurora police also killed Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old black man, last summer because someone reported that a man who “looked sketchy” was in the area New York Times. Cops restricted the blood to McClain’s brain to make him pass out during the arrest and injected him with the drug ketamine. McClain died of a cardiac arrest and died, but the coroner did not rule the murder, which led to protests. These peaceful protests, including one last month, were depressed violently from Aurora Police in full combat gear.