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Judge says Aurora police's use of mass traffic stop was justified
12:49 PM, Oct 27, 2012
A federal judge has ruled Aurora police did not violate dozens of people's rights when they conducted a mass traffic stop looking for a bank robber.
The mass traffic stop happened on June 2 when a Wells Fargo bank was robbed on East Hampden Avenue. Police said the suspect fled the bank in a black SUV.
A hidden GPS tracker allowed police to follow him to the intersection of Iliff Avenue and Buckley Road. Officers did not have a specific description of the suspect, so they rapidly created a perimeter and searched about 20 vehicles, ordering their occupants out at gunpoint.
Many people were handcuffed and some were held for about two hours.
U.S. District Judge William J. Martinez ruled officers were "reasonable to err on the side of caution and assume the robber could be any of the stopped adults," reported the Denver Post.
Police arrested Christian Paetsch, 45, at the scene when they found loaded handguns, ammunition, a mask, wig, gloves and nearly $23,000 in cash in his SUV.
Attorneys for Paetsch had argued the evidence police found should be tossed out because the stop was unconstitutional.