The Aurora Police Department has apologized for screwing up so egregiously that it could take years of therapy to undo the mental trauma they forced on a Black family incorrectly suspected of stealing a vehicle. The women and young children who police targeted at gunpoint were handcuffed and forced to lie face-down on the roasting concrete of a mall parking lot, but they were riding in a car while the stolen vehicle cops were supposed to be looking for was instead a motorcycle.
In fact, the motorcycle in question had a Montana license plate while the car the Black family was in had Colorado plates. Purportedly, both vehicles shared the same license plate number.
The family was headed out for a day at the nail salon when the life-changing incident took place Sunday in the suburb of Denver.
The entire incident was avoidable wth simple and basic police work that didn’t involve making any contact with the family that included a 6-year-old girl, let alone handcuffing them and detaining them in such an inhumane way. Of course, the incident was captured on video by an innocent bystander who recognized the cops’ treacherous treatment for what it was and said she felt compelled to document the abuse.
The video is hard to watch but even harder to listen to as the children can be heard wailing and crying over the police treatment that, again, was avoidable had cops been aware that they were looking for a stolen motorcycle, not a car filled with Black females.
The driver of the car the family was riding in told the Denver Post that even she, who is not a police officer, is aware of all the other ways that cops could have reacted to the situation better.
“There’s no excuse why you didn’t handle it a different type of way,” Brittney Gilliam said. “You could have even told them ‘step off to the side let me ask your mom or your auntie a few questions so we can get this cleared up.’ There was different ways to handle it.”
The Aurora police chief said she called and apologized directly to the family for what the department improbably still described in a statement as a “high-risk stop” that involved compliant misidentified suspects who never once posed a threat to the cops involved.
Did we mention that the Aurora Police Department is the same law enforcement agency that attacked Elijah McClain, an innocent Black man who was walking home from the store when cops stopped him last year for being “suspicious,” used a carotid chokehold on the 23-year-old, then claimed he was in “an “agitated mental state” that prompted paramedics to inject him with the sedative ketamine, inducing first a heart attack, then a coma and then his death.
McClain’s death was being revisited by officials after a petition called for another investigation.
Even James Holmes, a white man who waged a mass shooting inside a movie theater and killed 12 people in 2012, was treated with more courtesy and respect by the Aurora Police Department after his killing spree than how officers treated both McClain and the Black family incorrectly profiled this past weekend.
Even after months of Americans protesting police violence nationwide, these cops still thought this was the prudent way to go about enforcing the law.
It was the latest high-profile mixup for a police department since rogue cops in Lousiville botched a no-knock warrant and shot and killed Breonna Taylor in her sleep even though the suspect being sought was actually already in police custody.
This is America.