Two Aurora, Colorado police officers have been arrested and charged after body camera video shows one of the officers pistol-whipping, strangling and threatening to shoot an unarmed man.
Officers John Haubert, 39, and Francine Martinez, 40, were arrested on Tuesday after the violent arrest of 29-year-old Kyle Vinson.
According to the arrest affidavit, Haubert, the officer seen pistol-whipping Vinson, has been charged with attempted first-degree assault, second-degree assault, felony menacing, official oppression, and first degree misconduct. Martinez has been charged with failing to stop the excessive use of force or report it to her superiors.
Both officers have bonded out of custody and are now on leave. Officer Martinez will continue to receive her pay while leave.
According to Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson, the incident took place on July 23 at about 1 p.m. when Haubert and Martinez responded to a trespassing call. When the officers arrived at the scene, they saw three men sitting on the ground near bicycles. After the officers ran the men’s names, they found that all three had outstanding warrants. When they attempted to arrest one of the suspects he and another man fled while Vinson remained seated.
As the two suspects fled the scene, officer Haubert ordered Vinson to roll over on his stomach. After Vinson lays on his stomach, Haubert presses his service pistol against the back of his head and says, “You have a gun pointed straight at your head, cooperate.”
Vinson initially complied, according to Aurora Police Detective Ethan Snow, who wrote the 15-page affidavit seeking a warrant for Haubert’s arrest.
“Officer Haubert continued to press his duty pistol against Mr. Vinson’s head despite Mr. Vinson’s compliance,” Snow wrote. Vinson then tried to free one of his arms from the arresting officers “while squirming his body.”
As the officers attempt to cuff Vinson, a struggle ensues. During this time Haubert can be seen repeatedly striking Vinson about his head and face with the butt of his service pistol. The officer can also be heard threatening to shoot Vinson several times.
As the struggle continues, Haubert put his hands around Vinson’s neck for at least 39 seconds, according to the affidavit.
Vinson was hospitalized with contusions and required stitches after the violent encounter.
During a press conference Tuesday, Chief Wilson played the bodycam video of the incident, saying the video is “very disturbing” and would “shock the conscianece.”
“What you’re going to see is going to anger you, and may even bring you to tears. I know as I watched it, I felt myself welling up with tears as well as anger,” she said, adding “We’re disgusted. We’re angry. This is not police work. We don’t train this, it’s not acceptable.”
“This was not the Aurora Police Department. This was criminal.”
According to court documents obtained by the Associated Press, Vinson had an outstanding warrant for failure to submit urine samples, not attending court-ordered counseling for a domestic violence charge and failing to appear at probation meetings. Wilson noted that the man likely did not know about the warrant.
Vinson has retained civil rights lawyers @RMLawyersLLC and Charles Nicholas. RM has represented family members of several people who died following interactions with APD, including Gary Black and Elijah McClain.