ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — A former Aurora police officer broke down in tears in a courtroom Friday as she was sentenced for failing to intervene and help a man in trouble.
A judge admonished her, saying she should have stopped another officer from using excessive force.
During much of the sentencing hearing, former Aurora Police Officer Francine Martinez cried as a judge considered her fate after being convicted of failing to intervene.
Two years ago, police body camera video showed her at a scene where another officer used excessive force. The man seen in the video, Kyle Vinson, was wanted on a warrant.
The video shows an officer holding a gun to Vinson’s head and strangling him for 39 seconds. Martinez was sentenced to six months under house arrest.
“I do not see that this rises to the level that you actually need be physically incarcerated in the Arapahoe County detention facility,” Judge Cheryl Rowles-Stokes said.
Law makes it a crime for officers to stand by
Edward C. Hopkins is the civil attorney for Vinson, who was shown in the video struggling to survive.
FOX31 asked Hopkins if the sentence involving house arrest was fair.
“That’s very difficult to answer because this is a combination of how to address a new law — how to assess what the duty to intervene means,” Hopkins said.
The failure-to-intervene law was passed after high-profile cases involving excessive force arose in Colorado and across the country. Martinez’s case is among the first to be tried and sentenced in Colorado.
A spokesman for Arapahoe County court said house arrest means Martinez will not be able to leave her home, except for things like approved medical appointments. Martinez must start wearing an ankle monitor within the next 10 days.
After the hearing, a person with Martinez said she had no comment.