Two Colorado police officers face charges after body camera video showed one strangled and beat a man.
The man could be heard screaming, "you're killing me," as one officer repeatedly struck his head with a gun.
Court documents reviewed by Insider show one officer said he was going to shoot the man but wasn't sure his gun was loaded.
Two Aurora, Colorado police officers were arrested on Monday after video showed one of them strangling and beating a man while the other officer didn't appear to intervene.
The Aurora Police Department released body camera footage on Tuesday that it said shows one officer repeatedly striking the man's head with a gun as the man screamed "you're killing me," then holding the man's throat to the ground for approximately 30 seconds.
Officer John Haubert was charged with assault, assault with a deadly weapon and strangulation, among other charges. Officer Francine Martinez was charged with failing to intervene for failing to report Haubert's use of excessive force, which is a misdemeanor.
Haubert's attorney, Reid Eckus, did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment. Eckus told the Associated Press that he plans to "zealously defend Officer Haubert." Haubert resigned from the force Thursday, the Aurora Police Department announced.
It is unclear if Martinez has retained an attorney, and Insider's attempts to reach Martinez were unsuccessful.
Colorado recently passed the Enhance Law Enforcement Integrity Act, which requires on-duty police officers to intervene when they see another officer using excessive force. If an officer is convicted of not intervening in a case of excessive force, their certification is permenently revoked. The accountability law was passed in the wake of the 2019 police killing of Elijah McClain in Aurora.
Body camera footage shows cop strangling man, striking him with gun
On July 23, the Haubert and Martinez approached three men sitting under a tree after being dispatched on a report of trespassing, Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson said in a press conference on Tuesday. Once the officers determined that all three men had warrants out for their arrest, they attempted to detain the men, and two fled the scene.
The body camera footage shows Haubert push the man onto his back and and tell him to lay on his stomach. Haubert then shoves the man's face into the ground and pushes the barrel of his gun into the back of the man's head, demanding that he put his arms out.
Martinez then attempts to place the man in handcuffs, and the man pulls his arms away, the footage shows. Haubert begins to strike the man several times in the face with his gun before the man yells, "you're killing me," and pleads that the officers did not have a warrant.
The footage shows that after a brief struggle, Haubert put his hand on the man's neck and pushed him into the ground so forcefully that Haubert's body camera dislodged. Haubert then yells, "If you move I will shoot you."
The encounter ends when two more officers arrive on the scene and one strikes the man in the leg with a taser, placing him under arrest.
A detective reviewed body camera footage from other officers during the investigation into Haubert and Martinez, according to an arrest warrant affidavit reviewed by Insider. The affidavit said that footage shows another officer asking who had committed the "Tier 3," an Aurora Police Department term for the highest level of force, use of a deadly weapon. Haubert responded, "Me, I was wailing the fuck out of him," according to the affidavit.
Other body camera footage cited in the affidavit shows officers asking Haubert whose blood was on his gun, and if the suspect was reaching for his gun during the arrest. Haubert replied, "At the end he was going for it. I was going to shoot him but I didn't know if I had a round."
Wilson said in the press conference that the department began to investigate Friday evening after a deputy police chief who was on the scene realized that the officers used excessive force. Wilson added that Martinez in on administrative leave with pay.
"This is not police work," Wilson said. "We don't train this. It's not acceptable."
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