Religious leaders, families call for firing of officers involved in three separate incidents

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DENVER (KDVR) — A religious group in Colorado is calling for the termination of both Aurora and Denver police officers, involved in three separate incidents—all of which they’re characterizing as racial profiling.

“We are all traumatized by what happened, because we’ve never had that happen before,” Brittany Gilliam said during a press conference over the weekend.

Gilliam and two of her daughters were handcuffed by Aurora police, face down on the pavement earlier this month, after officers mistook her license plate number for a stolen out-of-state motorcycle.

“I am beyond angry. I have had enough. I am at my breaking point,” Gilliam said, with her three daughters at her side.

Gilliam says the video of the incident, which has gone viral, captured the worst moment of her life.

“All I hear at night is my kids’ screams—12 minutes of screaming. How do you shut that out? And you say therapy is going to help? I need more than just a bit of therapy. These kids need more than just a bit of therapy.”

Gilliam joined two other families, alongside the Denver Metro Greater Ministerial Alliance—who says the video of Gilliam prompted them to speak out publicly.

“This thing is so out of control. Somebody said if you’re sitting on a powder keg, and you keep lighting up, it’s going to explode eventually. We don’t want to see that powder keg explode. We want to make changes now,” Bishop Jerry Demmer told FOX31.

“I believe this new Chief wants to do the right thing. But right now, anything short of terminating them, to make an example, will not suffice,” Demmer added.

The DMGMA says both the Aurora and Denver Police departments are guilty of ongoing, systemic racism.

Naphtali Israel was also at the press conference, and says Denver police haven’t taken accountability for an incident back in May, which is now under current litigation.

Israel says officers held him and his children at gunpoint in a grocery store parking lot, following a 911 call about a hooded black man sitting in his car.

“At no point within our discussion did he ever apologize. He wanted to justify the fact that he pulled his gun out on children and ordered them and barked commands… where my 2-year-old jumped out of the car in fear. My 14-year-old wet herself, while the police officer had his gun drawn on her,” Israel said.

The Denver Police Department says they are unable to make a comment about the case, because it is under litigation—but did say back in June, officers acted appropriately, given the information they received from the call.

Both families are being represented by attorney David Lane.

“We are in federal court with his case, and we are soon to be in Arapahoe County state court on the Gilliam case, under the brand new Colorado civil rights law. This is going to be the first filing under the new law in Colorado,” Lane told FOX31.

A third family says they haven’t filed a lawsuit against the Aurora Police Department, as they came forward publicly for the first time on Saturday about an incident that happened in May.

Angela Davis says her daughter and stepsons were handcuffed and held at gunpoint, after officers mistook her car for a sedan that had left the scene of a shooting.

“I got to see the video footage of them using a high-risk stop, where they had guns pulled on my daughter. At the end of the day, she was nowhere in the vicinity of the scene of the crime, of the shooting,” Davis said.

The Aurora Police Department could not be reached for comment.

Police Chief Vanessa Wilson has publicly apologized to Gilliam and her family, but all three families say apologies are no longer enough.

The DMGMA is now calling for an investigation from the Department of Justice, and encouraging other people to come forward.

“Not only do we need systemic change, we need an investigation to see if criminal charges need to be brought against the department,” Demmer said.

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