Body camera video shows Aurora officer strangling, pistol-whipping suspect

Local News

AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson is condemning the action of two officers, now facing criminal charges, for how they handled an arrest in late July.

“We’re disgusted, we’re angry,” Wilson said. “This is not police work. We don’t train this. It’s not acceptable.”

Newly released arrest affidavits say that an Aurora police officer held his gun at a man’s head and strangled him for 39 seconds during an arrest on Friday and another officer failed to report the use of force despite being there the entire time.

According to the documents, officers John Haubert and Francine Martinez were dispatched to 3138 South Parker Rd. at 2:16 p.m. for reports of someone trespassing.

The suspects accused of trespassing were identified as Kyle Maurice Vinson, 29, Calvin Stevenson, 45, and Anthony Sano, 41, each with an active felony warrant according to the Aurora Police Department.

Stevenson and Sano ran from the scene, but the responding officers were able to catch Vinson and during a physical struggle he was hit in the head with an officer’s gun, strangled and flipped onto the ground according to an investigator who reviewed the body camera video.

Officers Edward Brooks and Michael Dieck arrived near the end of the arrest. Dieck used his Taser on Vinson, according to arrest documents and Brooks helped handcuff Vinson after.

Vinson was taken to The Medical Center of Aurora for his injuries, which included lumps and cuts on his head, according to arrest documents.

Aurora officers called for trespassing

Detective Ethan Snow with the Aurora Police Department reviewed the body camera video for Martinez and Haubert following multiple witness statements that described use of force during Vinson’s arrest.

According to an affidavit, Snow watched Martinez and Haubert talking with three people, later identified as Vinson, Stevenson, and Sano. Vinson, Stevenson, and Sano were on the ground under a tree when Martinez went to a patrol vehicle to run their IDs.

During this process, Martinez determined that all three suspects had felony warrants and when she approached them Stevenson and Sano ran away.

Snow’s report says the body came video shows Haubert place his left hand on Vinson’s chest and push him to the ground while he was already in a seated position. Haubert told Vinson to get down then drew his pistol and while telling Vinson to roll over on his stomach.

The body cam video was released just before 3 p.m. on Tuesday. Snow’s report says it shows Vinson continuing to lay on his back with his hands up, but not physically resisting.

WARNING: The body cam video contains foul language and some viewers may find content disturbing:

Martinez and Haubert told Vinson to roll over to his stomach again, and this time he complied without the use of physical force.

Body camera video still image from Aurora Police Department probable cause affidavit. Credit: Aurora Police Department

Snow said Haubert continued to point his gun at Vinson while asking him to put his hands out in front of him several times. Haubert then proceeded to grab Vinson’s neck and point his pistol at Vinson’s head.

Body camera video still image from Aurora Police Department probable cause affidavit. Credit: Aurora Police Department

Vinson complied with Haubert’s orders to place his hands out. Haubert continued to press his pistol into Vinson’s head even after he complied, according to Snow.

From this point in the arrest, Snow said Martinez grabbed onto Vinson’s arm and hand and attempted handcuff him, but Vinson pulled his hand and arm away and resisted her attempts.

Resisting arrest and strangulation

During the confrontation, Vinson can be heard saying that that he did not have an arrest warrant while he continued to resist arrest. Throughout this all, Haubert continued to hold his gun pointed toward Vinson.

Snow’s report says that Vinson tried to swat the gun away, at which point Haubert grabbed his neck and pressed his thumb on the side of Vinson’s throat.

After that, Haubert continued to tell Vinson to get on his face while hitting Vinson on the head four times with his pistol. Snow said that the striking sound could be heard on the body camera video.

Vinson said, “Okay, okay, I’m trying,” according to Snow before Haubert hit him in the back of his head two more times with his pistol and told him to get on his face.

Vinson then repeatedly told Haubert, “you’re killing me,” according to Snow.

At this point in the video, Snow said bleeding and other visible injuries could be seen on Vinson’s head.

The confrontation continued, with Haubert asking Vinson to turn over. Martinez then grabbed Vinson’s shirt and told him to get over on his face. Then, Haubert struck Vinson in the chest with his pistol, according to Snow.

Snow said Haubert then grabbed Vinson by the neck and forced him to the ground. As this happened, Haubert’s body camera was knocked off but Martinez’s camera continued to record what happened as Vinson was on his back with Haubert’s hand around his throat.

At this point, Snow said he could hear Vinson’s voice squealing in a high pitch, suggesting his throat was being squeezed. Haubert told Vinson, “If you move, I will shoot you.”

Aurora police Officer John Haubert appears to strangle a man during an arrest on July 23, 2021. (Credit: Arapahoe County Court)

Snow said it looked like Vinson was trying to move Haubert’s hands from his neck, but he did not make any life-threatening actions toward the officers.

Haubert continued to strangle Vinson for 39 seconds to the point that Vinson started to lose consciousness and his eyes started to close, according to Snow.

After Haubert removed his hands, Vinson started to lift himself on the ground while asking the officers not to shoot him, however Snow says Haubert pushed him back down and told him to stop fighting.

Haubert proceeded to say, “Grab my gun again and I will shoot you,” according to Snow.

Vinson eventually made it to his feet but was again pushed back to the ground by Haubert and Martinez during a struggle that did not involve and punches, kicks or strikes made by anyone.

Once on the ground Haubert then positioned himself on top of Vinson.

Other officers arrive on the scene

At this point, Brooks and Dieck arrived on scene and Haubert holstered his gun.

Martinez and Haubert then rolled Vinson onto his side and Dieck fired his Taser, striking Vinson in his right side according to Snow.

Snow said Brooks then placed Vinson in cuffs while Vinson reported he could not breathe.

Charges against Haubert and Martinez

Booking records show Haubert was taken into custody Monday night, and bond was set for $50,000. He posted bond and was released.

He faces the following charges:

  • Attempted first-degree assault, Class 4 felony
  • Second-degree assault: strangulation, Class 4 felony
  • Felony menacing, Class 5 felony
  • Official oppression, Class 2 misdemeanor
  • First-degree official misconduct, Class 2 misdemeanor
John Haubert, an Aurora police officer, is charged with multiple counts of assault after an alleged use of force incident. (Credit: Arapahoe County District Court)

The second officer accused in the case, Martinez, also posted bond. She faces the following charges

  • Duty to intervene, Class 1 misdemeanor
  • Duty to report use of force by a peace officer, Class 1 misdemeanor
Francine Martinez, an Aurora police officer, is charged with failing to report use of force after allegedly witnessing John Haubert, another officer, assault a man during a police response. (Credit: Arapahoe County District Court)

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