The laid-off cop sues Aurora to get the job again. accuses town of wrongly portray him as a racist

Aurora Public Service Commission

The sacked Aurora Police Officer Levi Huffine appears in a video meeting outside the Aurora Public Service Commission.

A former Aurora police officer is suing the city to get his job back. City officials wrongly portray him as a racist for ignoring calls for help from a woman in the back of his patrol car.

Levi Huffine filed a lawsuit in Arapahoe District Court last week alleging the city “did not hold a fair and impartial hearing” and wrongly released information about the incident that influenced his appeal.

Vanessa Wilson, then the interim police chief, fired Huffine in February in connection with an August 2019 incident in which he ignored a woman’s cries for help after she fell undercover on the floorboards in the back seat of Huffine’s police cruiser while he was transporting her there the city prison.

The woman could not stand up by herself because both her hands and ankles were restrained. The woman yelled for help for more than 20 minutes as Huffine drove. He didn’t look after her.

Huffine does not deny the facts of the incident in his lawsuit, but claims that he should not have been fired at all and that his appeal process was compromised by the release of information to the public.

Wilson, who became the permanent head of the department in August, decided to fire Huffine, despite the chief’s internal review board recommending that Huffine be suspended for 180 hours. At the time of discharge, she only disclosed the officer’s name and did not provide details of what led to the discipline.

In July, a recording technician posted a summary of the case in response to a record request from the Denver Post. Wilson later said the release was accidental and should not have happened as the department is holding disciplinary records until an appeal is completed.

This release and testimony of Aurora officials during Huffine’s two-day appeal hearing before the Civil Service Commission created a bias against Huffine, alleging he was racist, the lawsuit said. Huffine is white and the woman involved in the incident is black.

“Despite the fact that there was no evidence of a racially motivated bias or component in this case, other than the fact that the individuals were of different races, the plaintiff was inadmissibly portrayed as a racist without it being possible to do so counteract the eyes of the commission “, it says in the lawsuit. This prompted the commission to uphold the dismissal based on factual conclusions from racial motivation, which in this case have not been proven. “

The commission upheld Huffine’s release on October 6, saying the incident was “simply unacceptable”.

The conclusion that Huffine is racist is so stigmatizing that Huffine cannot get a job in law enforcement, the lawsuit says.

The city did not respond to the lawsuit in court, according to online court records. Aurora spokesman Michael Bryant said Tuesday the city is looking into the lawsuit.

“Police Commissioner Vanessa Wilson’s dismissal of Officer Huffine was lawful and fair, and was upheld by the City Public Service Commission. We believe the district court will approve the action taken on this case,” Bryant said in a per e-mail. Mail sent statement.

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