AURORA, Colo. – An Aurora police officer who was involved in the pistol-whipping arrest of a man captured by a body-worn camera late last month was fired Thursday afternoon by the chief of police for failing to intervene.
Francine Ann Martinez, 40, violated several directives within the Aurora Police Department, according to the results of an internal affairs investigation: Duty to intervene and report intervention, unsatisfactory performance and conformance to law.
The police department said in a blog post they will not be providing further information about her firing at this time due to the ongoing investigation by the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office against her and former Aurora Ofc. John Raymond Haubert, who resigned from the force amid the investigation into his alleged excessive use of force on 29-year-old Kyle Maurice Vinson on July 23.
Martinez, a six-year veteran of the police department, still faces charges of duty to report use of force by a peace office and failing to intervene, both misdemeanors.
The charges against her and Haubert stem from an arrest on July 23 around 2:16 p.m. at 3138 S. Parker Road, according to the arrest affidavits released in the case.
They encountered Kyle Maurice Vinson, 29, who had an active felony warrant stemming from a domestic violence-related incident. During the arrest, Haubert positioned himself near Vinson’s head, and grabbed Vinson’s neck and pointed his pistol at the man’s head, the affidavit states.
The affidavit says Haubert told Vinson to get on his face and roll over while still on top of Vinson, pointing a gun at him and later grabbing him by the neck and throat.
The arresting documents show Vinson was struck by Haubert several times as he kept him on the ground and Vinson is heard repeatedly yelling to Haubert, “You’re killing me!” He has visible injuries and blood on his head, according to the affidavit, and appeared to lose consciousness. About 39 seconds after Haubert first began to strangle Vinson, Haubert removed his hand and Vinson said, “Don’t shoot me please” and said “Don’t hurt me” twice, according to the affidavits.
“Mr. Vinson was not striking, punching, or kicking Officer Haubert. It did not appear … that Mr. Vinson made any life-threatening actions toward Officer Haubert or Officer Martinez,” according to the affidavits, which state several times the suspect did not attempt to fight back. Vinson also never appeared armed, according to the affidavits.
Body camera footage from a sergeant later showed him asking Haubert whose blood was on Haubert’s gun. Haubert responded, “Should be all his (Vinson), all that blood on him is from me f****** pistol-whipping him,” according to the affidavits.
During a news conference on July 27, Chief Wilson apologized to the community and to Vinson's family, saying many officers within the department were disgusted with what they saw.
"This is not police work. This is not police work. We don’t train this. It’s not acceptable," Wilson said during opening remarks. "This is not the Aurora Police Department. This was criminal.”
A patterns and practice investigation into the Aurora Police Department by Attorney General Phil Weiser is ongoing.