Aurora Police Officers Set to Face Trial for Alleged Excessive Use of Force Against Protesters in 2020

Three Aurora police officers and the city of Aurora will stand trial for breaching two men’s constitutional rights during Denver demonstrations in 2020.

Officers attacked nonviolent protestors using missiles, flash-bang grenades, chemical weapons, and other less-lethal weapons.

The use of less-lethal ammunition, according to the court, is “unconstitutionally excessive force when applied to an unthreatening protester who has neither committed a serious offence nor attempted to flee.”

The ACLU of Colorado applauds the ruling of the court. They claim it proves that police personnel are not immune from accountability for using excessive force, even when operating under the supervision of other agencies.

“Our clients took to the streets to protest police abuse, and the police retaliated with violence.” “This decision is another step towards holding them accountable,” said Tim Macdonald, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado. “Some of our clients had been kneeling with their hands up when they were shot.”

Plaintiff Zachary Packard was shot in the head by Aurora police officers using a lead-filled bag fired from a shotgun. He was knocked out and suffered a shattered skull and jaw, two damaged discs, and brain haemorrhage.

Aurora cops also smacked Johnathan Duran in the groyne with a foam baton.

Following the Denver case last year, CBS News Colorado talked with Packard.

“Our clients brought this case because they wished for police reform.” “They wanted to ensure that people could go out into the streets and exercise their First Amendment rights without fear of retaliation,” Macdonald explained.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit denied an appeal filed by the city of Aurora and its officers challenging the district court’s denial of qualified immunity against Aurora Officer David McNamee, Officer Cory Budaj, and Sgt. Patricio Serrant in a 22-page opinion.

“We have on body-worn camera instructions and directions from Aurora commanders saying that ‘if any protester touches our tear gas, we’ll friggin’ shoot them.'” Macdonald went on to claim. “Officers followed through, and indeed, shot Zach in the head and Jonathan in the groyne.”

According to Macdonald, the next move will be to seek the court to schedule the trial as soon as feasible.

Aurora decided earlier this year to dissolve its long-standing mutual aid arrangement with Denver, which enabled them to borrow law enforcement resources when required.

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