Aurora, Colorado Police officers Madisen Moen and Darian Dasko will not be charged for wrongfully detaining a Black woman and four young girls at gunpoint on August 2, 2020.
Brittany Gilliam’s SUV license plate was misidentified by a license plate reader because it matched the license plate number of a stolen motorcycle from another state. Denver Police have apologized after a video taken by a bystander spread on social media showing Gilliam, her 6-year-old daughter, her 14- and 17-year-old nieces, and 12-year-old sister handcuffed next to her car as they lay face down on the ground. The children can be heard crying and screaming on the video. Two additional officers then arrived on scene and after realizing their mistake, proceeded to uncuff Gilliam and the young girls, and apologize.
A review by the district attorney’s office found no evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that the officers acted unlawfully. Prosecution stated that it was difficult for officers to see inside the vehicle to identify anyone due to its tinted windows, even though officers failed to confirm the physical description. Police Chief Vanessa Wilson has ordered an internal investigation and confirmed that police are instructed to draw their guns and put people on the ground when approaching a stolen vehicle. However, the officers should have changed course when children were pulled from the car, Wilson added.
David Lane, lawyer for Gilliam and the young girls, says he wasn’t surprised by the decision that fits a pattern in Aurora and the U.S. because, “When White cops point guns at small Black children, there are no consequences in America.”
Why We Need To Know:
Aurora PD is also being investigated by a grand jury for the death of 23-year-old Elijah McClain, who died on August 27, 2020, three days after being placed in a chokehold and administered ketamine, a drug used to restrain an agitated suspect. “If the grand jury in the Elijah McClain case doesn’t indict the officers and paramedics responsible for killing him, it will be because the attorney general’s office did not want charges to be brought,” said McClain’s family lawyer Mari Newman.