A $ 285,000 lawsuit filed by a Hispanic American against the Aurora Police Department who was handcuffed and thrown to the ground while officers responded to a noise complaint was settled.
The Colorado ACLU announced in a press release on Thursday the settlement on behalf of Jamie Alberto Torres Soto.
Torres was “illegally ordered from his home and beaten unjustifiably” by police in November 2016.
“While the size of Mr. Torres’ settlement suggests the importance of the wrongdoing in this case, it does not begin to serve justice,” Colorado legal director’s Mark Silverstein, ACLU, said in the news release. “To this day, Mr. Torres suffers physically and emotionally from this incident and the racist police violence in Aurora has continued unabated.”
The city said in a written statement on Thursday that the settlement “does not allow liability in this case”.
The deal was reached in part to “avoid lengthy litigation, as is the case in many cases,” the city’s statement said.
The ACLU publication mentions Elijah McClain as an additional alleged example of excessive violence against people of color.
Torres was working on a car’s muffler in a garage after midnight when the incident occurred. On the orders of Officer Ethan Yazdani, he delayed leaving the garage so he could call his wife, who speaks English. When Torres left the garage with his hands up, he was handcuffed and beaten to the floor. Torres was charged with resisting arrest; he was acquitted by a jury.
“Aurora police have used pepper spray, police dogs, tasers and other weapons and violence against blacks and Latinos who are disproportionate to whites,” the press release said. “The ACLU complaint identified 13 incidents in which Aurora Police exposed people of color to unjustified violence, brutality, imprisonment and arrest, even if the victim was suspected of a minor violation.”
Mari Newman, an attorney working with the ACLU, said, “Mr. Torres was ill-treated by the Aurora Police when he was beaten and again when they tried to silence him and cover up their wrongdoing. To combat the Aurora PD epidemic of violence against color communities, we must continue to hold them accountable. “
Aurora police have taken steps to counter allegations of excessive violence and alleged discrimination in the department, the city said.
“Regardless of legal filings, the Aurora Police Department remains committed to reviewing its practices and procedures to provide the best possible service to our residents, and the new Police Chief Vanessa Wilson has put in place a plan to restore public trust in the department,” said the Aurora statement said.
Wilson’s Plan – A New Path – can be viewed online at AuroraGov.org/ANewWay.