AURORA, Colo. — An Aurora police officer, involved in a violent altercation in Dec. 2018, was forced to resign after testing positive for cocaine earlier this year.
Christopher Thivierge with the Aurora Police Department (APD) tested positive and was put on paid administrative leave on Jan. 4, officials said. He was terminated on April 1, but immediately appealed. While that process was playing out, he turned in his resignation on April 18.
Thivierge was tested, per department policy, after responding to a domestic dispute which turned into an altercation between APD and a veteran who died of restraint asphyxia.
It's unclear if APD believes Thivierge was high on the drug during the altercation.
While the Arapahoe County Coroner’s Office ruled the death of 32-year-old David Baker, a Navy veteran and father, a homicide, prosecutors quietly decided not to file any charges against any of the officers who responded to the chaotic scene in Aurora on Dec. 17, 2018.
The day after the fight – a fight that eventually led to a police response of more than two dozen officers – Aurora Police Chief Nick Metz called the event, “one of the most violent altercations I have seen in my [35-year] career.”
According to the autopsy report, Baker died of “restraint asphyxia.” In other words, the position he was placed in – in this case on his stomach – prevented him from breathing adequately. He was handcuffed at the time. According to more than 400 pages of police reports reviewed by 9Wants to Know, at least seven of the responding officers worked to hold down the 237-pound man at the time of his arrest.
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