Author Topic: Colorado police cuff, search dozens of innocent people at gunpoint in frenzied manhunt  (Read 484 times)

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Offline rangerrebew

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Colorado police cuff, search dozens of innocent people at gunpoint in frenzied manhunt

Motorists caught up in the dragnet were “detained, removed, searched, restrained — and terrified.”
 
Posted on May 23, 2014 by Site Staff in News



 
AURORA, CO — Seeking a bank robbery suspect with no description of the culprit, police barricaded an intersection, ordered dozens of people out of their cars at gunpoint, handcuffed every adult, and performed a warrantless search of all vehicles in the perimeter.

The incident occurred on June 2nd, 2012.  New details are being revealed nearly 2 years later in joint federal lawsuit being filed on behalf of 14 people.

After a bank robber sped off with loot from the Wells Fargo Bank, police used a GPS tracking beacon, hidden inside the bag of stolen cash, to track down the location of the suspect to the nearest intersection. However, the police had no idea who they were looking for.  There had been no description of the suspect or the vehicle.

“We didn’t have a description, didn’t know race or gender or anything, so a split-second decision was made to stop all the cars at that intersection, and search for the armed robber,” Aurora police officer Frank Fania said.

A young man is removed from his vehicle with his hands in the air. 
A young man is removed from his vehicle with his hands in the air.
 
Police decided to treat everyone like a criminal.  The intersection of E. Iliff Avenue and S. Buckley Road was shut down by a flurry of police cars swarming in at once.

The lawsuit alleges that police “immediately surrounded and barricaded all nineteen vehicles stopped at the red light at that intersection,” noting that officers “had no description of the vehicle in which the robber fled” and “could not even pinpoint from which vehicle the transmitter’s signal was emitted.”

“Cops came in from every direction and just threw their car in front of my car,” said Sonya Romero, one of those trapped by police, to KMGH-TV in Denver.  “We didn’t know what the heck was going on.  We didn’t know if were were in the line of fire, or what the hell was happening.”

Innocent citizens sat for 2 hours in shackles. 
Innocent citizens sat for 2 hours in shackles.
 
“Nonetheless, the officers demanded that all vehicle occupants hold their arms up and outside of their vehicle windows,” the lawsuit states, adding that motorists were not even permitted to “shut off their vehicle’s ignition, put their vehicle in park, or lift their parking brakes.”

Those caught up in the dragnet were “detained, removed, searched, restrained — and terrified,” according to the lawsuit.

“They got behind shields.  They had M-4′s, shotguns out; taser guns, everything,” said witness Ben Barker to ABC-7 News.

“They brandished shields and pointed assault rifles directly at innocent citizens, including children under ten years old. Officers with police dogs were at the ready. No one was free to leave,” the lawsuit says.

A citizen puts his hands in the air as gun-wielding police officers force him from his vehicle. (Source: CBS-4)
A citizen puts his hands in the air as gun-wielding police officers force him from his vehicle. (Source: CBS-4)
 
“Officers, weapons still drawn, proceeded to each vehicle,” the lawsuit states.  Cops paid particular attention to those who appeared “overly nervous or anxious.”

The meticulous vehicle-to-vehicle search lasted 2 hours, “despite having no probable cause or reasonable suspicion that any particular individual had committed any offense.”  All the while, people were left shackled and corralled helplessly on the sidewalk.

Tim Olson, a Denver mechanic, was one of those drivers trapped in the police dragnet. He told FOX-31, “Suddenly there was a police officer straight ahead, takes a shotgun or rifle and aims my direction. You know never having been in that situation before it was extremely confusing, extremely intimidating.”

During the long detainment, Mr. Olson had difficulty kneeling on the hard sidewalk, and fell “face forward onto the pavement,” according to the lawsuit, as an officer “continued to scream at Mr. Olson to [kneel] while waving his shotgun near Mr. Olson’s face.”

“I was telling the officer ‘you’re hurting me. Let go,”" Olson remembered.  “They said ‘quit resisting.’”

A woman puts her hands up in surrender as police prepare to search her vehicle. 
A woman puts her hands up in surrender as police prepare to search her vehicle.
 
The “more-than-two-hour mass roundup of innocent men, women and children at a traffic section” left a total of 28 adults handcuffed, and 19 vehicles searched.

“This is the sort of thing that, if litigated correctly, it could go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court because it is an open question,” said University of Denver law professor, Justin Merceau to Fox 31.

Those named as defendants in the lawsuit are the City of Aurora, Colorado; Police Chief Daniel J. Oates; Christen Lertch; Kristopher McDowell; Luke J. Barker; Richard Ray; Brandt A. Smith; Michael David Prince; and A. Todd Chanos.

Detainees were corralled in handcuffs on the sidewalk. 
Detainees were corralled in handcuffs on the sidewalk.
 
The suspect was eventually found — but at what cost?  The rights of dozens of innocent citizens rights were seemingly nullified in order to recover some green paper.

“Exigent circumstances” remains a dangerous loophole in which police may callously ignore citizens’ rights.  Throughout the incident, officers would not have been able point to any articulable suspicion on any of the individuals that they were searching.  Based on a blip on a GPS monitor, dozens of people’s 4th amendment rights were discarded — not to mention the fact that their lives were threatened by shotgun-wielding cops riding an adrenaline buzz.

Police State USA covered a similar situation recently in Maryland, in which police shut down a 12-lane highway and performed car-to-car searches to find a robbery suspect.   Indeed, manhunts are a favorite opportunity for police to stretch the limits of their power.

This situation sorely needs to be addressed by the courts, in order to reign in the boundless powers of police during so-called exigent circumstances.

http://www.policestateusa.com/2014/aurora-colorado-manhunt/
 
« Last Edit: May 23, 2014, 10:47:49 AM by rangerrebew »
"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim tribute to patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness -- these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. . . . reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principles."
George Washington

"Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters."
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Offline Charlespg

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MotherF***** 

 :#@$%: 
this not the country I grew up in
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Offline xfreeper

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outrageous abuse of power. If the citizens tolerate it, they deserve it. Cops pointing firearms at innocent citizens that pose no threat should draw fire.

Online Bigun

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Personally I hope they get the book thrown at them!



Offline mountaineer

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Quote
“They said ‘quit resisting.’”
Yeah, I've heard resistance is futile.  **nononono*
A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.

Offline aligncare

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I think it's reasonable to assume that on this issue we have common ground with the Left. Interested to hear what others think.
NeverTrump wants to deny you YOUR voice, YOUR presidential choice.

Offline katzenjammer

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I think it's reasonable to assume that on this issue we have common ground with the Left. Interested to hear what others think.

One would think so, AC.  I believe that there are some honest brokers on the "left" that would view this in a way very much like most here.  Kuby, Dershowitz, Ratigan come to mind.

BUT many on the "left" (politicians and commentators alike) would totally sell out  any thoughts that they may have on civil liberties if the regime or other prominent Ds came out with comments along the lines of "police just need to do their jobs, gotta enforce the laws...."

I do believe that things are polarized to that point.

Offline olde north church

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1.  "I'm sure there is more to this.  I won't make any comments until all the information comes out."

2.  "There are always a few 'bad apples' in any organization.  You can't let them shape your opinion."

3.  "STOP RESISTING!  STOP RESISTING!"

4.  "DROP YOUR WEAPON!  DROP YOUR WEAPON!"

That sounds about right.
Why?  Well, because I'm a bastard, that's why.

Online truth_seeker

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There does exist a "populist" coalition of sorts, favoring personal freedom, over state power.

The problem is while some common ideas agree, others disagree.

Example: those from the religious right would have a state impose restrictions on abortion and homosexuality.

Those from the left would impose restrictions on guns and school curriculums.

Both sides might agree the police, when coming to impose state will upon you, first knock and show their warrants.
"God must love the common man, he made so many of them.”

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Offline NavyCanDo

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I don’t like to jump in on every  “Look what the cops did now”  thread because there are a lot of good cops, doing good things every day that don’t get noticed and who get overshadowed by the minority of them abusing their power. But this seems to be a clear overreach by the officers on the scene.    Not sure what they were thinking. 
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Offline rangerrebew

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I don’t like to jump in on every  “Look what the cops did now”  thread because there are a lot of good cops, doing good things every day that don’t get noticed and who get overshadowed by the minority of them abusing their power. But this seems to be a clear overreach by the officers on the scene.    Not sure what they were thinking.

I posted this and I'm a law and order guy.  But the media has no problem demeaning the entire Catholic Religion though the people involved are relatively small in number (I am not Catholic, so this isn't about getting even) but are relatively reluctant to report abuse of government power in any form.  Since a federal appeals court has ruled cops no longer need a warrant or reason to break into someone's house, we as Americans need to  be watchful this doesn't turn in to a Gestapo type organ of the government.  Don't forget the government has been putting armored vehicles and attack helicopters around the country plus buying millions of rounds of ammunition and I don't believe they intend to give to Americans to use for shooting practice.
"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim tribute to patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness -- these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. . . . reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principles."
George Washington

"Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters."
Benjamin Franklin

Offline olde north church

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I don’t like to jump in on every  “Look what the cops did now”  thread because there are a lot of good cops, doing good things every day that don’t get noticed and who get overshadowed by the minority of them abusing their power. But this seems to be a clear overreach by the officers on the scene.    Not sure what they were thinking.

If 95% of cops are good and 5% are "bad apples", the 95% shouldn't have any problems clearing the ranks.  They refuse to do so.  They are afraid of losing their power.
Why?  Well, because I'm a bastard, that's why.

Offline olde north church

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1.  "I'm sure there is more to this.  I won't make any comments until all the information comes out."

2.  "There are always a few 'bad apples' in any organization.  You can't let them shape your opinion."

3.  "STOP RESISTING!  STOP RESISTING!"

4.  "DROP YOUR WEAPON!  DROP YOUR WEAPON!"

That sounds about right.

5.  Not the first time he/she has done it.  Just the first time he/she has gotten caught.
Why?  Well, because I'm a bastard, that's why.


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