Body camera footage shows Colorado officer choking unarmed man: 'You're killing me'

Police in Aurora, Colo., on Tuesday release body camera footage from a violent encounter last week in which a suspect can be heard saying “You’re killing me,” as one officer choked and hit the unarmed man with his gun. 

The Aurora Police Department unveiled the graphic video in a press conference announcing the arrests of two officers, who each face multiple charges in connection with the violent incident. 

Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson said that Officers John Haubert and Francine Martinez had been responding to a report of trespassing when they encountered 29-year-old Kyle Maurice Vinson, who along with two other suspects were ordered by the officers to sit down. 

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Vinson was hospitalized and was treated for cuts and bruises after the encounter with police, police said Tuesday. 

Wilson said Haubert committed a “very despicable act,” adding that she and other department leaders were “disgusted.” 

“We’re angry. This is not police work. We don’t train this,” she added. “It’s not acceptable.”

Wilson said Haubert was placed on unpaid leave as an investigation into the incident is carried out, and Martinez, who responded to the trespassing report along with Haubert, was placed on paid leave.

The police chief said that both officers have turned themselves in, with Haubert facing charges of attempted first-degree assault, second-degree assault, felony menacing, official oppression and first-degree official misconduct.

Martinez has been charged with failing to fulfill an officer’s duty to intervene and duty to report a use of force by an officer. 

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The footage released by the police department showed two of the suspects running away while Vinson remained seated on the ground. 

Haubert then ran up to Vinson, telling him to “stay down,” “roll over on your stomach,” and place his hands above him, prompting the 29-year-old to repeatedly ask, “What did I do?” 

While Vinson complied with the officer’s orders, Haubert appeared to draw his pistol on him before the officer could be seen grabbing Vinson’s neck and pressing his weapon into the man’s head. 

Vinson then seemed to resist being placed in handcuffs, after which Haubert can be seen hitting the man with his gun multiple times as he shouted, “get on your face.” 

Blood could then be seen coming from Vinson’s head before he repeatedly told the officer, “You’re killing me.” 

The police officer could be heard saying, “If you move, I will shoot you," and telling Vinson to “stop fighting” as the man cried and gasped for air. 

Vinson could be heard saying “I need water,” before the 10-minute long video came to an end. 

Police said two other officers arrived at the scene, and that one used a stun gun on Vinson before officers took him into custody.