AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — A former Aurora police officer was found guilty Friday of failing to intervene when another officer used excessive force.
A jury found Francine Martinez guilty of the crime, a Class 1 misdemeanor, according to the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. The incident happened in 2021, when a responding officer on a call with Martinez strangled and pistol-whipped a man.
“Officers have a duty to intervene in situations like this,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Brian Sugioka said in a statement. “Officer Martinez failed to do anything to de-escalate the situation and stop the assault.”
Lawyers for Kyle Vinson, the man hurt in the case, said Friday that they’re “heartened” by the verdict.
“In this case, Officer Martinez had a front-row seat to the brutal assault of Mr. Vinson at the hands of her fellow officer,” reads the statement from the Rathod Mohamedbhai law firm. “Her failure to protect Mr. Vinson was unconscionable and in violation of her basic duties.”
The crime is somewhat new in Colorado. Lawmakers in 2020 passed a landmark police accountability bill. Along with other measures, the law makes it a crime for officers to fail to intervene or report use-of-force incidents.
The other ex-officer in the incident, John Haubert, is set for trial in November on multiple counts: second-degree assault, attempted first-degree assault with a deadly weapon, felony menacing, official oppression, official misconduct and a violent crime sentence enhancer.
Haubert and Martinez responded to a trespassing call around 2 p.m. on July 23, 2021. When they got there, two people ran off, and Vinson stayed on the scene, according to the DA’s office. Police learned he had an active warrant from an unrelated incident.
Vinson was hurt so badly during the arrest that he was taken to the hospital.
Sentencing for Martinez is scheduled for June 2.