‘You’re killing me’: Bodcam footage shows violence that led to arrest of two Colorado police officers

Chief of under-fire department says she ‘welled up’ at shocking footage from an arrest that allegedly left the victim bleeding and unconsciousness

Gino Spocchia
Thursday 29 July 2021 21:31

’You are killing me‘: Police pistol-whip and choke suspect in horrific bodycam footage

Footage from a violent arrest that led to the charging of two officers in Aurora, Colorado, has been released and shows a man choking while a gun was aimed at his head.

The body camera footage, which was released on Tuesday at a press briefing by the Aurora Police Department, shows the two officers beating a man during an arrest last Friday. The officers afterwards turned themselves in, according to The New York Times.

The two officers involved, 39-year-old John Haubert and 40-year-old Francine Martinez, have since been charged with assault, with the former facing charges for attempted first-degree assault, second-degree assault and felony menacing.

Ms Martinez is facing criminal charges for not intervening during Mr Haubert’s alleged use of force.

It features Mr Haubert aiming a gun at Kyle Vinson, aged 29, who was with two others who were wanted by police for felony charges but ran away from the scene of the arrest, The New York Times reported. There was a police warrant.

Mr Vinson was shoved by one of the officers and with his hands in the air, asked: “What the hell did I do, dude?” Mr Haubert pointed his gun at Mr Vinson and instructed him to lie face-down, as Ms Martinez held his hands.

With a gun, Mr Haubert then appears to hit Mr Vinson, which caused him to bleed. He pleads with the officer, who then appears to choke him for roughly 39 seconds, causing him to lose consciousness, the Times reported, as per the arrest affidavit for the officers.

Another officer who arrived at the scene then tasered Mr Vinson, it was alleged. He was taken to hospital and received stitches for a wound to his head.

The chief of Aurora’s police department, Vanessa Wilson, told reporters on Tuesday that she “welled up” with tears and anger at the footage of the arrest, and said: “We don’t train this”.

While an internal investigation continues, Mr Haubert has been placed on unpaid leave, and Ms Martinez has been placed on paid leave, said Ms Wilson.

It follows a series of incidents in which the Aurora Police Department has been challenged for violence, with the attorney general for Colorado, Phil Weiser, announcing a sweeping investigation into whether the force employed “patterns and practices” that were depriving people of their constitutional rights.

In August 2019, 23-year-old massage therapist Elijah McClain died after being violently arrested by three police officers in Aurora after a neighbour had phoned 911 to say he looked “sketchy”. The behaviour of the officers, the police force and medical responders was heavily criticised in a report into the incident.