Black family, with children ranging in age from six to 17, were detained and handcuffed at gunpoint in controversial circumstances at a mall in Aurora, Colorado on Sunday
Brittney Gilliam traveling in her blue SUV had taken her nieces, younger sister and daughter to get their nails done, only to be surrounded by armed police and arrested for car theft
Bystander video has emerged showing family members lying on their stomachs with their hands behind their backs on Sunday morning
Driver Brittney Gilliam was seen being led away in handcuffs as her six year-old daughter cried out for her mom while lying on her stomach alongside Gilliam’s younger sister, 17, as well as her two nieces aged 12 and 14 n
Aurora Police detained the family because the car matched the license plate number of a stolen vehicle, which turned out to be a motorcycle from Montana
This fresh debacle comes amid mounting criticism of Aurora Police Dept in the ‘chokehold’ death of a 23-year-old black man, Elijah McClain, in Aug 2019
‘There’s no excuse why you didn’t handle it a different type of way,’ Gilliam slammed police insensitivity as the family say they are going to file an official complaint to ensure this does not happen to another family
Aurora police released a statement apologizing to the family over the ‘mix-up’ and announcing that internal investigation has been opened
Bystander footage has emerged on social media showing the moment Aurora Police officers in Colorado arrested the female driver and a group of young girls in the parking lot of a thrift store on Sunday morning.
The shocking video clip shows the family lying on their stomachs with their hands behind their backs in broad daylight as officers escort them into police cruisers.
Aurora police arrest black family in an SUV following reports of a stolen motorcycle
The four children, who are six, 12, 14, and 17 years old, can be heard screaming and crying throughout the arrest.
The incident was a case of mistaken identity after cops believed the car had been stolen because it matched the license plate number and description they were given.
They later determined they had stopped the wrong car and were actually looking for a motorcycle with the same license plate number from Montana.
The incident comes amid nationwide protests and mounting criticism of the Aurora Police Department which has been blamed for the death of 23-year-old black man Elijah McClain last August.
The driver of the blue SUV has been identified as Brittney Gilliam, who had been traveling with her nieces, younger sister and daughter.
She told local station 9News that she had taken her family to get their nails done but later realized the salon was closed.
The family then returned to their car only to be surrounded by officers who had their guns drawn.
‘You could have even told them “step off to the side let me ask your mom or your auntie a few questions so we can get this cleared up.” There was different ways to handle it.’
Police said cops may have accidentally targeted the car because it had been reported stolen in February in a separate incident.
Gilliam said the vehicle was stolen in February but was found the following day.
Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson later released a statement on Twitter, apologizing for the mix-up, following the incident.
‘We have been training our officers that when they contact a suspected stolen car, they should do what is called a high-risk stop,’ she wrote.
‘This involves drawing their weapons and ordering all occupants to exit the car and lie prone on the ground.’
‘I have reached out to our victim advocates so we can offer age-appropriate therapy that the city will cover.’
Chief Wilson said an internal investigation has also been opened.
The family, who has filed a complaint, is now being represented by Denver attorney David Lane, the law partner of Elijah McClain’s family lawyer Mari Newman.