Police in Aurora, Colorado held a black family at gunpoint, forcing terrified small children to lay face down on the ground handcuffed in a parking lot after they stopped their car, mistaking it for a motorcycle that had been stolen (yeah, that’s a head scratcher). Video shot by a witness showed Brittney Gilliam’s daughter and nieces screaming for their mother who had also been put in handcuffs.
CNN reports: “Gilliam said she was taking the girls to get their nails done the day of the incident. Her niece had just gotten back in the vehicle after looking to see if the nail salon was open and she and the girls were parked in a parking lot with the car turned off, Gilliam said, when Aurora police pulled up behind her vehicle with guns drawn and yelled for them to put their hands out of the window and to get out of the car. Gilliam and the girls got out of the vehicle and were told to lay face down on the ground, she said. At that time, police handcuffed Gilliam, her sister and niece. Gilliam said the police wouldn’t tell her why she was pulled over until she was handcuffed.”
Gilliam told CNN that the officers told her they handcuff kids when they get hostile.
Interim Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson released a statement on Monday night: “We first want to offer our apologies to the family involved in the traumatic incident involving a police stop of their vehicle yesterday. We have been training our officers that when they contact a suspected stolen car, they should do what is called a high-risk stop. This involves drawing their weapons and ordering all occupants to exit the car and lie prone on the ground. 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. I have called the family to apologize and to offer any help we can provide, especially for the children who may have been traumatized by yesterday’s events. I have reached out to our victim advocates so we can offer age-appropriate therapy that the city will cover.”
PIX11 adds: “Sunday’s incident comes as the Aurora Police Department faces continued criticism over its handling of the death of Elijah McClain. McClain died in police custody in 2019, but the case has garnered nationwide attention amid widespread protests in favor of police reform.”