AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — Should an Aurora Police officer have been placed on leave for yelling profanities at a teenage driver?
Body camera video released Wednesday shows Sgt. Ed Acuti unleashing a profanity-laden tirade against a 17-year-old girl. She was driving when police pulled her over for speeding, and her male passenger fled and dropped a loaded gun with an extended magazine.
The incident happened June 29.
The video shows the sergeant, with the police department’s Gang Intervention Unit, begin to question the 17-year-old driver. That’s when screaming between the two begins.
After the incident, another officer reported Acuti’s behavior, and he was placed on leave. Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson said the department’s officers “must strive to treat individuals with respect and remain professional.”
That created a firestorm of opinions.
A former police internal affairs investigator weighs in
Former Denver Police internal affairs investigator Jim Ponzi said Thursday that he would be asking a lot of questions if he were involved in the investigation.
“What would be your justification for the response and the off-color language that you used with this interviewee? Why would you do that?” Ponzi said.
Aurora internal affairs investigators are now trying to determine if Acuti violated department policies.
“That type of language is prohibited by rules and regulations in most police departments, but I have to say in some situations, I’ve used it,” Ponzi said.
Ponzi said he investigated similar cases at the Denver Police Department.
“We get cursed a lot, and I think what you have to realize is our verbal response doesn’t need to be laced with profanity. But in this type of circumstance, I do not think it was necessary,” Ponzi said.
The department said the internal affairs investigation into the incident is nearing its final stages. What happens next with Acuti is now up to Aurora’s police chief.