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Drivers sue Aurora police after being held at gunpoint during traffic stop

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AURORA, Colo. -- A number of drivers have filed a lawsuit against Aurora police after they say they were held at gunpoint, handcuffed and had their cars searched during a two-hour-plus traffic stop.

The lawsuit was filed Friday in a federal court, said David A. Lane, an attorney with Denver-based firm Killmer, Lane & Newman, LLP.

Lane said the traffic stop occurred at an Aurora intersection last year. Aurora police officers stopped 29 cars while looking for a bank robbery suspect. The suspect had a GPS transponder in the stolen money, however, police said they could not pinpoint which car the transponder was located in.

According to the lawsuit, the travelers who were stopped by police during the search claimed that officers held them at gunpoint, kept them in handcuffs for several hours and had their cars searched even though they had not committed a crime.

Drivers also said the searches continued after the suspect was apprehended.

The lawsuit said the traffic stop violated the Fourth Amendment's "indispensable freedom" to be secure against unwarranted searches and seizures.

It also said that officers brandished ballistic shields and pointed guns at innocent citizens, including children under the age of 10.


    • Theresa Howard

      Hope you never need the police or any other city worker help you in need…they were trying to find a dangerous armed criminal that could have easily killed someone in his escape or committed some other crimes against innocent person in near future. Just more money hungry people looking for any easy way to satisfy their pockets. Everyone sues these days …makes a person not want to be in public service jobs or to be helpful to fellow humans .

      • Steve Larson

        Those that are willing to forfeit an essential liberty for temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. “Hope I never need the police”? What would a responsible person need police for? You must be one of the lazy sponges that are so unwilling to take responsibility for their own security that they expect other human beings with families to die in order to provide it for them. Even to the point of sacrificing enshrined RIGHTS for, not safety, but the illusory [I]feeling[/I] of safety. You, ma’am, are a sad excuse for an American. Go lick the boots of those that provide everything [I]for you[/I].

      • Tony Montana (@galactictruth)

        at what point is it too much? when its your house? when you get shot because you had a phone in your hand? They work for you lady, you shouldn’t have to deal with a gun in your face ie potential death, because they feel like it…..that’s called assault with a deadly weapon, citizens shouldn’t be assaulted by cops.

    • hi

      I was there watching cops were running around with shotguns at a McDonald’s where kids play! They arrested mothers and fathers in front of their kids had the k9s ready to attack! It was a horrible sight to see. And if I was five minutes earlier I would have been a victim as well a mom who was pregnant and my two children Plus I have anxiety. So I would of went crazy. That is not protect and serve! Period!!!

  • Gerry Santo

    Why do people with a legitimate complaint feel the need to embellish the details? Yes, the basic part of the story happened, but some of the more outrageous details are pure imagination. Then people get mad when the cops always win these suits……

  • Judy R.

    On the reverse, could you have imagined these same peoples gripes if it would have been an innocent looking family who did rob the bank? Grow up people. Some times the police have to do hated things to get the job done. I will agree though this country is moving more and more towards a police state.

  • john

    That bank robber was an unemployed music teacher, now serving 7 years 2 months. I bet he wishes if only he had spent 10 dollars on a heavy duty roll of aluminum foil and lined the inside of a suitcase with it so the money would not have sent out a GPS signal. On that action alone, the cops would’ve had no idea where to look in the city and the robber would’ve driven home safely since he used a stolen bicycle to drive a few blocks away from his parked vehicle then left the bank on the bicycle. Robbing a bank isn’t the same as it was 20 yrs ago. Technology has changed the scene. As for all the citizens who had guns pointed at them and their vehicles searched without a warrant, I wonder how many were arrested for possession of cocaine, meth , or prescription pills without a prescription because even though the police were targeting a bank robber, you know very well if they came across any “illegal” substance in an unconstitutional and warrantless search, the driver of the vehicle was still getting arrested and booked. We live in a police state. Society is seeing a militarized police state form in front of them. George Orwell’s fictional book 1984, is turning into a playbook by the govt. I wish the robber had better critical thinking skills because he would’ve gotten away.

  • colocaver

    Police should only have batons and pepper spray like England. There also should be a citizen regulated “Police Police” which can use deadly force against the police but not anyone else, on the spot, to regulate the municipal harassment. Checks and balances.

    Any cop pointing the muzzle of a weapon at a child should be shot on the spot.

    • Nathan

      Just so you know a 16 year old shot and killed a police officer a few years ago just because he stopped to talk to him. Not all kids are innocent. There are tons of kids involved with drugs and gangs in certain parts of the country. Also how ignorant do you have to be to say cops should only have batons and pepper spray? Cops deal with armed and violent suspects on a daily basis and you want them to go into a situation without a gun? People always complain about police, but don’t have the courage to do the job themselves. Do you have any idea how it is to do a job where you never know whether the next person you talk to will have a gun and possibly want to harm you? Police officers and even the military are taught not to be complacent just because of appearances. There have been shootings at police officers when the children of the suspect are their watching their parent shoot at police officers.

      • colocaver

        The cops job should be this dangerous and yes, they should be defenseless, and if it takes 3 dead cops to apprehend one criminal because we took their guns – so some poor kid with a toy doesn’t get shot by a cop in “Self defense” – so be it!

        The gun problem in this country lies with the police – the killing they get away with is ridiculous! Constant excessive force, more than enough shots to neutralize the threat – yes, they need to be disarmed!

  • justmejustjess

    Gee sorry you were detained for the overall safety of the GENERAL PUBLIC. You idiots would be suing the police department had the suspect hurt one of you and they hadn’t searched everyone if they’d had the knowledge he was in the area. Bank robbery is a FEDERAL crime and they have every right to detain you to find the suspect! And for those claiming police state- next time you or your loved one or friend is the victims of a crime- don’t call the police. I would hate to see you actually helped by the people sworn to protect you. This country is so lawsuit happy it’s not even funny. All about the money these days. I hope APD wins!

    • Kristen

      wow that is heartless! Your just an evil person. And no I’m not one suing but it was around the time that Florida man chewed off the face of another Florida man, and the scene looked as if that same thing was going on! They had ammunition I had NEVER seen before pointed out pregnant woman and kids! Let’s make some James Holmes outta these kids who are our future! Cops I know even said it was handled wrong… Maybe more training would be good for whom ever was in charge. And no the people did not go home unharmed! They were psychologically messed up after that!

    • Net Ziggy

      You really don’t understand your rights. This is a foundational violation of 4th Amendment rights. “We don’t know who the bad guy is. Arrest and search everybody.” No warrant for probable cause and no articulated reasonable suspicion. Let’s hope the APD doesn’t win. You have larger issues if you believe this behavior is acceptable from government servants who, by oath, are sworn to uphold the Constitution.
      Your comment regarding the police being sworn to protect you is incorrect. The US Supreme Court states just the opposite. The police have no obligation to protect anyone. Please do a google search for Warren vs DC and read the details of the crime that led to this case.

    • Tony Montana (@galactictruth)

      The last two times I called the cops I was asked by the cops, “what do you want us to do about it?”, Denver PD and Jeffco sheriff both WORTHLESS THUGS, And they never showed………good luck with that.
      Lakewood PD are the ONLY decent cops, probably because they all have a college education……

      • Julian

        This’s is very true. I’ve called the cops a number of times for help and have had the guns pointed at me. I’ve even been convicted in court for false charges, when I was the one to call. The officer lied to the judge to protect himself because he knew that he broke the law.

  • annpirie

    Cops have an ugly job to do keeping us safe. There was a felon loose and he needed to be arrested. I cannot imagine what the screeching would have been had any of you who are involved in this claim would have done had you been victimized by this jerk. Oh, I know. You would have sued them for that.

  • Jon

    The police should have a rule to never point their guns at young children. They are no threat. The lawsuit is probably based off of that inappropriate action.

    • justmejustjess

      The police would never do such a thing unless they have a reason to do so- and I highly doubt any of those kids had weapons or you weapons. It’s embellishment on the part of the idiots suing.

      • justmejustjess

        @ HI – maybe parents should explain that police are keeping them safe and the real bad guy was the one who caused that whole fiasco. Oh wait- that’s common sense and there’s not too much of that going around these days. Stop blaming the police for doing their jobs and blame the criminals for breaking the law. Law enforcement is a proactive and reactive job and sometimes the reactive side isn’t as pretty but every single person detained went home safe that night!

      • Kristen

        You just said” the police would never do such a thing ” well I was just saying” they did!” Were u their!? Bet if you seen ALL that happened and not just the news CLIPS then maybe you would have a heart! Wait you need one to have one, now that’s common sense!
        What if that was your child!? Or do you even have any? Parents shouldn’t have to explain ” oh sorry baby that you had guns pointed at you like you were a bad kid even though you didn’t do anything wrong, police just have to do that sometimes.” Smh…. They went about it wrong!

  • Theresa Howard

    I think that people are money hungry and sue happy …but they sure would cry if the police couldnt come to their rescue because jobs were cut so city could pay for stupid law suits. Traumatizing is what the people at the bank had to go through…people are so selfish these days!!! Police risk their lives every day for people and people just want to complicate their jobs even more!

  • Kristen

    so I guess you all are saying cops who shoot innocent people are hero’s, cause they thought they were a bad person but was mistaken. But hey that’s their job to protect general public! I hope u need the cops some day and the think your the criminal! Haha bet your mind frame would change then.
    I guess no one has heard of guns going off by mistake, that being said let’s all walk around pointing guns at kids! Idiots… And kiss are taught not to do that then they see police doing it and think it’s ok! Some of the kids were to young to comprehend the reason WHY but old enough to try and role play!

  • brad

    I can actually understand both sides here. I understand the police had a violent bank robbery suspect in a vehicle within a certain area but did not know which vehicle. I believe the police has a legal right to stop the cars they stopped. However, I do not believe they should have pointed weapons at children and continued to search vehicles after the suspect was in custody. I have no idea why it took several hours either.

    • Steve Larson

      So, Brad, if you think the police had the authority (only citizens have RIGHTS. We grant the police POWERS.) to DETAIN these people….where did they get this authority from? The supreme law of the land states, plain as day, that citizens have the RIGHT to be secure in one’s person and effects from search or seizure unless a judge specifically signs a WARRANT. Probable cause is required by law for that warrant. Yet….numerous people here are willing to toss that law on its ear, and let multiple peoples RIGHTS be completely trampled (If you all hate criminals so much that you’re willing to toss constitutional rights in the trash to get them….why do you give folks who violate MULTIPLE laws a pass? Oh, wait. It must be because they had shiny metal disks called “badges” in this case. They broke tons of laws….but that’s o.k……they have badges, so we’ll just ignore that and say that the people complaining are the problem, and not the one’s pissing on their own oath to uphold the constitution.

  • Jeff O'Brien (@jhaydeno)

    Yes, because a day without having a pet dog shot or your 4th amendment rights violated all across the nation would be such a bad thing! Get real Brad, there are bad people and bad policies in every corner of this world. If you see nothing wrong with the way this situation was handled you need to go back to school and get your GED. I’m guessing you are a progressive who voted for O twice and relies solely on the police to protect you. Out where I live I haven’t seen a policeman in years and we protect ourselves under another one of those funny amendments you obviously didn’t learn about!

  • Jason

    I have been a teller in a bank. Most everyone knows about the security measures that banks incorporate. The draw limits for tellers is so low, that I do not know why anyone would even bother robbing a bank today. For the risk involved…and you will get caught…the pay-off is just not worth it.

  • rix

    Or you can look at it this way… ALL it takes is ONE money hungry ambulance chasing attorney to get the idea of a BIG dollar lawsuit.. and they collect say at least 50% of the $$ amount… for all their hard work

  • Test

    “You idiots would be suing the police department had the suspect hurt one of you and they hadn’t searched everyone if they’d had the knowledge he was in the area.”

    Project much?

    How many lawsuits have resulted from a bank robber NOT being apprehended at one particular place?

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