Colorado Cops Seen Handcuffing Black Family, Including 6-Year-Old, And Holding Them At Gunpoint After Mistaking Their Car As Stolen
An internal investigation is now underway.
August 04, 2020 at 2:09 pm
A Colorado police department has launched an internal investigation after a family with several children was handcuffed, held at gunpoint and made to lay on hot pavement.
According to 9News, Aurora Police Department said officers were notified of a stolen vehicle Sunday morning. The officers found a car that matched the license plate number they were given and conducted a stop. During the encounter, Brittney Gilliam said members of her family — which included four girls ranging in age from 6 to 17 years old — were ordered on the ground and handcuffed.
Gilliam, identified as the vehicle’s driver, said she was taking her nieces, daughter and younger sister to get their nails done at a nearby salon. After they realized the shop was closed, they made their way back to their car. She said they were then surrounded by police with guns drawn.
"I saw a car next to me with four girls in it. Feet were up on the dash. It was real cute. And next thing I know the police pull up silently behind them and had guns drawn on the children," she said.
Aurora PD handcuff and held family at gunpoint. pic.twitter.com/GkTWKFZqkI
— Joshua Rodriguez (@Joshuajered) August 3, 2020
In the video, the young girls can be heard crying in terror, with one saying "I want my mommy."
After realizing they had stopped the wrong vehicle, police officers released the family and apologized.
Gilliam’s car had been stolen in February, but she said it was located the next day.
"He’s like something about the car being reported stolen," Gilliam said. "And I’m like 'this happened months ago, you guys cleared it we got to pick up the car the next day, the very next day, so I’m not understanding what’s going on.'"
Police said a motorcycle with a matching license plate number was actually reported stolen that morning.
Gilliam has since filed a complaint with the department, and her 14-year-old niece said the way police handled the situation makes it difficult to put her faith in them.
“It’s like they don’t care," Teriana Thomas said. "Who am I going to call when my life is in danger?”
On Monday, Interim Police Chief Vanessa Wilson released a statement saying it is imperative that officers have the ability “to deviate from this process when different scenarios present themselves.”
"We have been training our officers that when they contact a suspected stolen car, they should do what is a called a high-risk stop," Wilson said. "But we must allow our officers to have discretion and to deviate from this process when different scenarios present themselves. I have already directed my team to look at new practices and training."
Wilson added that she has called the family to apologize and offered to provide support for “the children who may have been traumatized.”
Gilliam has hired civil rights attorney David Lane, a law partner of the firm representing Elijah McClain’s family, reports 9News. McClain was killed in police custody on August 24, 2019, after it was reported that he needed medical attention for “the physical force” applied to him while he was restrained by officers, as Blavity previously reported.