AURORA, Colo. — The Aurora Police Department (APD) will pay a $285,000 settlement for ordering a Latino man out of his home and slamming him on the ground while investigating a noise complaint.
That's according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Colorado, which announced the settlement on behalf of Jamie Albert Torres Soto on Thursday.
“While the size of Mr. Torres’ settlement suggests the significance of the wrongdoing in this case, it does not begin to serve justice,” ACLU of Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein said in a news release. “To this day, Mr. Torres suffers physically and emotionally from that incident.”
The City of Aurora released the following statement:
"The city has entered into a settlement agreement with Mr. Torres on this matter. As part of that agreement, the city did not admit liability in this case. This case was settled in part to avoid prolonged litigation, as many cases are. Regardless of any legal filings, the Aurora Police Department remains committed to ongoing reviews of its practices and procedures to offer the best service to our residents, and new Police Chief Vanessa Wilson has undertaken a plan to restore public trust in the department, called “A New Way,” available at AuroraGov.org/ANewWay."
>>> The video above is from a 2018 9NEWS report on the lawsuit.
The incident happened in November 2016.
Soto was fixing a car in his garage with two friends when an officer with the Aurora Police Department approached him and illegally told him to step out of his home, according to the lawsuit.
After pausing briefly to call his wife and ask her to come out of the house to help translate, Soto obeyed commands from officers in both English and Spanish to leave his garage, the suit says.
As Soto started walking from the garage area, officers immediately “wrenched his arm behind his back, picked him up, and slammed him to the ground,” according to the lawsuit. Soto screamed out in pain, the lawsuit says, and was left bloodied and bruised from the confrontation.
In the police report from APD, one of the officers described several times where he said he struggled to take Soto into custody.
“I told Jaime something to the effect of 'quit it' at least two times as he was resisting my efforts to place the other handcuff on his wrist," the report detailed.
The same officer wrote: “Jaime then tucked in his leg, twisted his body, and pushed back. This action caused me to start losing my balance.”
The lawsuit further alleges that Aurora police then tried to cover up the incident by charging Soto with resisting arrest and failure to follow a lawful order – both of which he was later acquitted of by a jury.
Soto was found guilty of a noise complaint.
In a Facebook post after the lawsuit was filed in 2018, the Aurora Police Department said that it is aware of the lawsuit and takes allegations of misconduct very seriously.
The department has been the subject of controversy in recent months for multiple high-profile incidents involving its officers, including the death of Elijah McClain.
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