Despite their pledge to rebuild trust after the unfortunate death of Elijah McClain three years ago, the Aurora Police Department is still being accused of participating in violent and dangerous behavior.
Over the weekend, Antonio Johnson, who is Black, filed a lawsuit against the department claiming that they used dragged him from his car and tased him force against him during a 2021 traffic stop, according to The Denver Post.
What’s more, the entire incident was caught on video:
More from The Denver Post:
Antonio Johnson, 43, was stopped on Aug. 22, 2021, for incorrectly displaying a temporary license plate, according to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court and a police statement in video footage provided by Johnson’s attorney. Johnson was “generally complying” with officers’ demands but not perfectly, the complaint states, and rather than de-escalating the situation by talking calmly to him, the officers chose to escalate. Johnson was arrested on charges of obstructing a peace officer, driving under restraint, driving under the influence and having an open alcohol container in a vehicle, court records show. All of the charges were later dismissed.
Johnson’s attorney, Adam Frank, alluded to previous behavior from the Aurora Police Department, saying that the case with his client is a perfect example of the larger issues of excessive force and racial bias going on in the department.
He said, “What you see on video is that Aurora police officers encounter a Black man in their investigation, and despite the fact that he is not violent, that he is not threatening, that he is not accused of having done anything violent, that he is not trying to flee, the simple fact that they perceive him as being slow to perfectly comply with every single one of their orders, means they resort to force,” according to The Denver Post.
Johnson’s lawsuit claims that the arrest was a violation of his state and federal rights and that the policies of the department are what led to his violent arrest.
For the record, the Aurora Police Department has a recent history of racial bias and excessive force. It’s something that has led to the unnecessary abuse and death of Black people in the area, most notably Elijah McClain. McClain died in 2019, six days after he was accosted by Aurora officers who put him in a chokehold and eventually called in paramedics to sedate him with ketamine. He would later suffer cardiac arrest before passing away. Three cops and two paramedics have been indicted in connection with his death.