Aurora police release body camera footage of disturbance leading to death in December

AURORA, Colo. -- Aurora Police released new body camera footage Monday night from an in-custody death that happened in December.

On Dec. 17, 2018, Officers from the Aurora Police Department responded to 10653 E. Jewell Ave. after a woman called 911 saying that there was a verbal and physical domestic fight occurring inside of the apartment, according to a release from APD.

Officers arrived on scene approximately seven minutes later and as they approached the apartment, could hear yelling and screaming. As officers approached the door, they could see a male actively choking another male. Officers began to give verbal commands during this loud and very chaotic scene. One of the involved males then turns his attention officers and begins to advance on them. This male is later identified as David Baker, all of this according to the new video released from APD.

The content in the video is extremely graphic. Viewer discretion is advised.

"Two different officers deployed their Tasers but neither had any effect. After the two unsuccessful taser attempts, Mr. Baker pushes an officer out of the apartment and continues to fight. After some baton strikes that prove to be ineffective, the fight makes its way outside. Once outside, officers attempt to go hands on with Mr. Baker who instead throws an officer to the ground, injuring them. Mr. Baker continues to advance on the officers and ends up grabbing an officer’s baton and attempts to take it away", all of this according to Aurora police Chief Nick Metz.

"Officers continue to give Mr. Baker verbal commands and stop resisting, all of which are ignored," said Metz.

"At one point, an officer is in a position to apply a carotid control hold. While attempting to apply the carotid control hold, Mr. Baker is able to turn himself around and then places his hands around an officer’s neck and begins to choke him for several seconds. Other officers notice that the officer is being choked, attempt to drive-stun Mr. Baker as well as deliver baton strikes to his legs, all of which had no effect", according to the video.

"After finally letting go of our officers throat, Mr. Baker turns and begins to walk towards the open apartment door. Someone on the inside of the apartment notices this and quickly closes the door. Mrs. Baker is left outside pleading to her husband to please stop", according to Metz in the video.

"An officer attempts to de-escalate the situation by putting away his baton and going hands on instead. While trying to gain control of Mr. Bakers arm and take him to the ground, Mr. Baker is able to fight through and continues to fight officers. Officers then begin to punch, kick, and use their Taser to drive-stun Mr. Baker in an attempt to place him into custody. During all of this, Mrs. Baker, as well as a neighbor who has heard the yelling and screaming, are now both pleading to Mr. Baker to stop fighting", according to Metz.

"Mr. Baker is finally taken to the ground but continues to kick and fight with officers as they attempt to take him into custody. Now over 6 minutes into the fight, the first backup officers arrive on scene. Mr. Baker is laying on his arms preventing officers from placing into handcuffs. An officer has to use his baton as a pry tool to get one of his arms free in order to successfully handcuff him. Once officers finally get his second arm free, it takes four pairs of handcuffs, linked together, to properly restrain Mr. Baker, all of this", according to the video.

"This was an incredibly violent fight between officers and Mr. Baker and officers. A fight that started well before officers arrived. It continued for approximately nine minutes, the officers did not have the option to get up and walk away from the fight, officers observed a male being physically choked, which is a felony," Metz added.

"Feeling that Mr. Baker is still kicking, officers mention the use of hobbles. Officers prepare to apply a hobble, which consists of a separate waist chain and feet restraints. At no time during a hobble do the hands ever get attached to the feet as they would in a hogtie. Also, while officers only mentioned applying hobbles, neither the separate waist chain nor the feet restraints were ever successfully applied", according to Metz in the video.

"As officers continue to effectively gain complete control of Mr. Baker, an officer recognizes that he may be unconscious. Officers request for rescue to respond to the scene, who were already staged around the corner. Officers begin to check vital signs and it appears that Mr. Baker is not breathing although another officer can feel a pulse. Rescue was walked into scene where they took over the medical measures. Mr. Baker was transported to the hospital where he unfortunately succumbed to his injuries", Metz added.

Members of the Aurora Police Major Crimes Homicide Unit responded to the scene and requested the assistance from the Denver Police Department to complete a thorough and comprehensive investigation. They were also assisted by the Arapahoe County Coroner’s Office, according to a release.

The facts of the case were then presented to the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office who ultimately concluded that no member of the Aurora Police Department violated any Colorado statute with respect to the events that occurred at 10653 E. Jewell on Dec. 17, 2018.

This incident is now being reviewed by the Aurora Police Department's Force Review board to determine if there were any policy violations, according to the release.

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