A Black woman and four children who were held at gunpoint when Aurora police officers mistakenly thought they were in a stolen vehicle sued the city of Aurora, Chief Vanessa Wilson and five police officers Monday, alleging the officers had no legal grounds for their actions.
Video of the Aug. 2 incident shows the children — ages 6, 12, 14 and 17 — laying face-down in a parking lot and screaming in fear as police handcuffed the 12-year-old and 17-year-old after officers ordered everyone out of the SUV at gunpoint.
One officer attempted to handcuff the 6-year-old girl as well, according to the lawsuit, but the handcuffs were “too big to fit around her wrists.”
The family had done nothing wrong. Driver Brittney Gilliam had been planning to have a day out for the kids, with plans to get their nails done and then eat some ice cream, according to the lawsuit. The nail salon she’d planned to visit was closed when they arrived, so she’d stopped in the parking lot to look up another nearby place.
The police officers who mistakenly believed the car was stolen — Darian Dasko and Madisen Moen — failed to check information they’d received from a license-plate reader that showed it was a motorcycle with Montana plates that had been reported stolen, not an SUV with Colorado plates. While the SUV had the same plate number as the stolen motorcycle, it was completely uninvolved.