The bodycam footage is horrifying: A white police officer pistol-whips an unarmed Black man until the man’s head is bloody while another officer stands by, doing nothing to intervene. At one point, the suspect, who was merely accused of trespassing, pleads with the officer for mercy, saying, “You’re killing me.”
Now, an investigation into the background of the officer has raised some serious concerns about how he managed to get a badge, a gun and official sanction to patrol the streets in the first place — and that’s not the only question that’s come up.
Patterns of violence are showing through the cracks
The incident took place in Aurora, where the statistics alone tell a disturbing story: Despite being 60% white, 29% Latino and only 17% Black, Black residents are almost four times as likely as whites to be killed during interactions with the police. That indicates that biases may be driving much of the police violence and brutality in the area toward those residents.
A deeper look at the background of the officer involved in this latest incident of brutality begs the question, “How did he ever get hired?” The officer in question was arrested back in 2009 for felony menacing with a weapon, prohibited use of a gun while intoxicated and driving under the influence. He ultimately cut a plea deal that led to probation and community service.
When asked for a comment, the best the Aurora Police Department could say is that they had not been involved in the hiring process. Instead, the officer had been vetted through the Peace Officers Standards and Training service via Aurora’s Civil Service Commission.
Both officers involved in the above incident are now facing multiple charges for their role in the assault on the victim.
Victims of police brutality deserve aggressive representation
Situations like these are distressingly common. If you or your loved one has been victimized by the authorities, don’t hesitate to assert your rights. Working with an experienced advocate can be key to getting the justice you deserve.