A black family traveling in an SUV with children aged six to 17 was arrested and held at gunpoint after the police mistakenly believed that their vehicle had been stolen.
Bystander material has emerged on social media, showing the moment when Aurora police officers in Colorado arrested a driver and a group of young girls in the parking lot of a used goods store on Sunday morning.
The shocking video clip shows the family lying on their belly with their hands behind their backs in broad daylight as officers escort them into police vehicles.
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The Aurora police were filmed when they arrested and handcuffed a black family with young children after they mistakenly thought their car had been stolen
Bystander shots show four children aged six, 12, 14 and 17 sitting on the floor of a parking lot on Sunday
You can hear the younger family members screaming and crying while the police handcuffs the driver away
The four children aged six, 12, 14 and 17 can be heard screaming and crying throughout the arrest.
The incident was a case of false identity after the police believed the car had been stolen because it matched the license plate and description they received.
They later found that they had stopped the wrong car and were actually looking for a motorcycle with the same license plate from Montana.
The incident occurs amid nationwide protests and growing criticism of the Aurora police department, which was held responsible for the death of 23-year-old black Elijah McClain last August.
The driver of the blue SUV was identified as Brittney Gilliam, who had traveled with her nieces, younger sister and daughter.
She told local 9News station that she had taken her family to do her nails, but later noticed that the salon was closed.
The family then returned to their car only to be surrounded by officers whose weapons were drawn.
The family was stopped after the police believed that their license plate matched that of a stolen vehicle. They later found that they were looking for a motorcycle with the same license plate, but from outside the state
Driver Brittney Gilliam, who had taken her family to have her nails done, was handcuffed away (on the far left) when the rest of her relatives were on the floor
Gilliam said the family returned to the car after noticing that the nail salon was closed only to be confronted with guns drawn by police officers
Gilliam beat up the police for ill-treating the situation, especially in front of young children
“There is no excuse for why you [cops] I didn’t do it any differently, ”Gilliam told the news broadcaster.
“You could have even told them:” Stand aside, let me ask your mother or aunt a few questions so we can sort it out. ‘There were several ways to deal with it.’
Police said the police may have accidentally targeted the car because it was reported stolen in a separate incident in February.
Gilliam said the vehicle was stolen in February but was found the next day.
Vanessa Wilson, Aurora police chief, later posted a statement on Twitter and apologized for the confusion.
“We trained our officers to take a so-called high-risk freeze when they contact a suspected stolen car,” she wrote.
“To do this, they have to draw their weapons and order all occupants to get out of the car and lie on the ground.”
The Aurora Police Department has come under fire in the past few months after the death of 23-year-old black Elijah McClain last year
McClain was put to death by a stranglehold by Aurora police after being stopped on the way home on August 24, 2019. The police confronted McClain after receiving reports of a man who looked “sketchy”.
The Aurora Police Department released a statement apologizing to the family for the confusion
“I called the family to apologize and offer any help we can, especially for the children who may have been traumatized by yesterday’s events.
“I turned to our victim lawyers so we could offer age-appropriate therapy that would cover the city.”
Chief Wilson said an internal investigation was also opened.
The family that filed a complaint is now represented by Denver lawyer David Lane, the legal partner of Elijah McClain’s family lawyer Mari Newman, according to 9News.
McClain was fatally strangled by Aurora police on August 24, 2019 after being stopped on the way home at night.
The police were called to the scene after receiving reports from a man wearing a ski mask that was “sketchy” and slapped his arms.
McClain, a massage therapist who was described by friends and family as “weird, vegetarian, athletic, and peacemaker” who loved animals, was handcuffed and placed in a carotid control handle, restricting his blood flow before he passed out.
Paramedics later sedated him with ketamine and brought him to a cardiac arrest. Six days later, he was declared brain dead and removed from life support.