The cops who traumatized a group of Black children by handcuffing them and holding them face down on the ground at gunpoint in Aurora, Colorado this summer—based on incompetent police work—will not face any consequences for their actions.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Clinton McKinzie in Colorado said on Friday that there will be no charges made against officers from the Aurora Police Department (APD) who drew their guns on four Black girls, ranging in ages from 6 to 17, and made them lie on the pavement last August on the incorrect suspicion that they were in a stolen car.
“What happened to the innocent occupants is unacceptable and preventable, but that alone is an insufficient basis to affix criminal culpability to the two officers involved in the initial contact,” McKinzie wrote in a letter explaining the decision not to charge the cops identified as Officers Darian Dasko and Madisen Moen, according to the Denver Post.
The girls were headed to a nail salon with their aunt when Dasko and Madisen stopped car they were in and ordered them out, handcuffing the aunt as well as two of the children. All four of the girls, including the 6 year old, were then made to lie on their stomachs on asphalt at the height of summer.
When additional cops were called to the scene, the cops realized they were actually supposed to be looking for a motorcycle that had been reported stolen and shared a license plate number with the car. Police ultimately let the family go after the ridiculous mistake, but not before seriously traumatizing the children (who a passerby captured on video screaming during the clearly distressing encounter) and giving us all yet another devastating lesson about how Black people—even six year olds—can be treated in America without any real repercussions for the perpetrators.
Prosecutors consulted a former police officer, Paul Taylor, in coming to the decision not to charge the officers. He found that police department procedures covered the cops actions.
“All of the officers involved in the incident acted in a professional, safe and respectful manner in all their interactions with the driver and the other occupants of the vehicle during the encounter,” said Taylor.
“This is not to say that what happened to the occupants of the vehicle is OK or tolerable,” McKenzie wrote in his letter. “It is not. The errors in information-sharing, training and procedure that led to these innocent people being subjected to this police encounter must be investigated further and prevented from happening again.”
The family’s attorney, David Lane, told KDVR news that they will be filing a civil rights lawsuit against the police department for the incident.
“Basic common sense and decency should tell you, you don’t put a 6-year-old kid face-down at gunpoint anywhere, under any circumstances,” Lane said.
He added that he wasn’t surprised that the advice of a former law enforcement officer had helped decide against criminal consequences for the cops.
Officers from the APD were also involved in the death of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black man who died after paramedics injected him with ketamine following a detainment by police who put him in a chokehold.