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Prone restraint death leads to lawsuit against Aurora Police officers

David Baker died underneath several officers in 2018. His death was ruled justified by prosecutors.

DENVER — The estranged wife of a man who died shortly after being held in a prone position by Aurora Police has filed a lawsuit against the officers alleging excessive force led to the 2018 death of David Baker.

Baker’s death, recently profiled in the 9Wants to Know “Prone” investigation, happened just outside Daisy Baker’s apartment on Dec. 17, 2017.

>> Watch the "Prone" investigation above

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According to an autopsy report, David Baker died of “restraint asphyxia” shortly after officers wrestled him to the ground and handcuffed him facedown and on his stomach.

As outlined in the “Prone” investigation, officers across the US have repeatedly been warned about lingering on the backs of suspects who are held in that position.

The position, according to a 1995 U.S. Department of Justice bulletin, can make lead to trouble breathing “when pressure is applied” to the suspect’s back.

RELATED: PRONE: Why do people die underneath officers? It’s more controversial than you might think

That night, Aurora Police were responding to a 911 call after David Baker got into a fight with Daisy Baker’s brother. Daisy Baker had earlier filed a restraining order against her husband, according to a police report. When officers approached the door, the report says David Baker immediately rushed them.

A prolonged fight ensued, according to the report. At one point, the report says three responding officers requested additional backup.

In the police report, one officer called David Baker a “raging bull.”

RELATED: Aurora Police Department will review use-of-force policy, chief says

Officers were eventually able to bring David Baker to the ground and handcuff him, but the report says that while attempting to apply leg restraints they noticed he had stopped resisting.

Eventually, the report says he stopped breathing.

The city of Aurora issued the following statement to 9Wants to Know regarding the newly filed lawsuit:

“The city of Aurora is aware of the lawsuit that has been filed, but the City Attorney’s Office has not yet had an opportunity to analyze it and therefore cannot comment on its contents. 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.”

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