An Aurora, Colorado police officer was fired after a video shows how he mistreated a female he had in his custody.
The video shows former officer Levi Huffine arresting Shantaeah Kelly on Aug. 27, 2019, for fighting and other minor charges. Huffine tells Kelly he is going to hobble her because she tried to get out of his patrol car. Kelly is handcuffed with her wrists tied to her ankles behind her back and put in the back of Huffine’s patrol car.
During the ride to the precinct, video from inside the patrol car shows Kelly slide off the back seat and become inverted. With her feet in the air and the weight of her body on her head and neck, Kelly pleads with Huffine for more than 20 minutes to lift her up.
“Officer please, I can’t breathe,” Kelly says. “I don’t want to die like this. I’m about to break my neck.”
Kelly continuously begs the officer to change her position, but he ignores her pleas for help.
“My neck is killing me dude. Help me, I can’t breathe.” At one point Kelly, who is Black, can be heard saying, ”I never felt so much racism in my life.”
Kelly, begging and sobbing for help, refers to Huffine as “master.” She says “I beg you master.”
Huffine is appealing his termination and on Wednesday afternoon, he gave his testimony before Aurora’s Civil Service Commission.
During his testimony, he detailed the events that led to Kelly’s arrest. He said she had been involved in a fight at a nearby park and it appeared that she was the aggressor. He said he used his taser on Kelly but it had little effect.
“She was not obeying my lawful orders,” said Huffine. “My ultimate goal was to place her in handcuffs and take her into custody with the least amount of force, injury,” said Huffine.
Before Huffine could explain what happened in his patrol car, the hearing was adjourned until Thursday morning.
Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson says Huffine was not charged with a criminal offense because Kelly did not suffer any serious injuries and did not die.
An internal APD review board recommended a 180-hour suspension for Huffine, but Wilson overruled the board, saying she was sickened by what she saw on Huffine’s body cam.
All criminal charges against Kelly were dropped.