AURORA, Colo. — An Aurora Police officer has been placed on paid administrative leave following the release of body camera footage showing a traffic stop that turned violent.
The footage from a traffic stop on May 15, shows Aurora officers tackling and using a Taser on Preston Nunn III.
Aurora Police said in the time prior to what's shown during the footage, Nunn failed to yield for officers as they conducted a separate traffic stop on E. Iliff Avenue near S. Buckley Road.
"Slow down, and get over," an officer said while asking Nunn for his license and registration during the video.
During the video, as Nunn begins to look around his car for the paperwork, officers yelled for his hands to remain on his face.
During a Thursday press conference held by Nunn, community organizations and activists, Nunn said officers didn't give him time to comply.
"When I first got stopped, I thought it was just a traffic stop. I didn't know I was going to be beaten that way or attacked that way, to be honest, but when he approached the car, I just really thought he was overdoing it," Nunn said. "When he approached the car and asked for my license, registration and insurance, which I was ready to provide for him, he didn't give me to time to provide it, he just over pressed the whole situation."
The incident had been previously reviewed by Aurora Police's Force Review Board. The Board recommended additional training for the primary officer involved.
This week, Chief Vanessa Wilson said "out of an abundance of caution," she's chosen to open an internal investigation into the incident while the officer is on leave.
Now, Nunn's family has called for the four officers involved in the ordeal to be fired and for Colorado state leaders to step in.
Aurora police provided the following statement:
“The Aurora Police Department is aware of the body-worn camera video CBS4 received. APD did not provide the video. The station received a copy of it from an unknown source.
The traffic stop occurred on May 15, 2021 at 12:18 a.m. Prior to the stop seen on video, officers were conducting a separate traffic stop on Iliff near Buckley when the suspect vehicle came into the officers’ lane, nearly striking them with the car. One of the officers was able to catch up to that vehicle and conduct a traffic stop. That interaction is recorded on the body-worn camera.
While conducting the stop, as seen in the video, the driver was not fully cooperative with the officer’s instructions and repeatedly kept reaching towards concealed parts of his body and his vehicle, ignoring the officer’s commands to stop.
This incident was previously reviewed by the Force Review Board (FRB). Findings from the FRB determined that prescriptive training in a variety of areas should be provided to the officer in the areas of de-escalation, communication and other tactical subjects.
Chief Wilson recognizes the video is troubling to watch irrespective of the contextual circumstances which is why, out of an abundance of caution, she made the decision to initiate a full investigation.
Per APD Policy, the officer involved has been placed on administrative leave with pay while the full investigation into this incident is completed.”
The Aurora Police Union said "in the eyes of the bargaining unit, this officer didn’t do anything wrong."
"He did what he was trained to do. If you watch that video in its entirety he did use de-escalation skills. During that entire contact, the subject being contacted never cooperated with the police. There were other people on scene, who were not police officers, who were telling him to cooperate and he is still failing to do so," the police union said in a statement. "This investigation was done, and there’s no reason for it to be reopened. This has lead (sic) to the bargaining unit informing city management that it lacks confidence in the Chief’s Office. However, the president of the union is confident they can meet to reestablish trust.”
The incident is coming to light just over a week after Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser released details of a 14-month investigation by the Colorado Department of Law that showed the Aurora Police Department uses excessive force and racially biased police practices and violates state and federal laws as part of its patterns and practices.