An Aurora police officer was placed on leave, arrested and charged this week after bodycam footage showed him for assaulting, strangling and threatening to kill a black man during a July 23 arrest.
The footage, which was played during a press conference on Tuesday, showed officer John Haubert striking Kyle Vinson several times with his firearm and then choking him as he is gasping for air and struggling to speak.
'You're Killing Me'
Haubert and another officer Francine Martinez were responding to reports of a trespassing when they found three people sitting on a nearby curb, according to the arrest affidavit. After Martinez learned that the three people had felony warrants, the officers tried to take them into custody, prompting two of the men to flee.
Haubert then asks an unarmed Vinson to roll over on his stomach as he repeatedly asks the officer, "What did I do?" with his hands up. Vinson complies and Haubert then grabs the back of his neck and presses the muzzle of his gun to his head.
Haubert then tries to handcuff the man, who continues to maintain he had an active warrant and tries to avoid getting cuffed. This prompts Haubert to repeatedly strike the man in the head with the butt of his gun, causing the victim to bleed from a cut that opens up on his head.
"You're killing me," Vinson is heard saying repeatedly. Haubert then grabs the man by the throat as his body cam falls off. "You move I will shoot you," Haubert is heard saying.
Haubert Strangled Vinson Until He Started Losing Consciousness
Martinez's body camera captures the moment Haubert strangles Vinson until his eyes start rolling up and he starts losing consciousness. According to the affidavit, Haubert choked Vinson for 39 seconds.
Two other officers arrived on scene and one of them, Officer Michael Dieck, used his Taser on Vinson. He was later hospitalized after his arrest with visible injuries to his head and had to have stitches to close some of the wounds on his head.
Body camera footage captured Haubert talking to a sergeant after the violent arrest and stating, "I was going to shoot him but I didn't know if I had a round in it or not." Watch the bodycam footage below. WARNING: The video is graphic in nature. Viewer discretion is advised.
Haubert Charged with Assault, Martinez Charged with Failure to Intervene
Haubert and Martinez were both placed on unpaid leave while the internal affairs investigation into the incident continues, Wilson said. Haubert has also been charged with three felony charges of attempted first-degree assault, second-degree assault and felony menacing â as well as misdemeanor charges of official oppression and official misconduct. Martinez has been charged for not intervening in Haubert's use of force.
Haubert, 39, has previously spent time in jail for a 2009 conviction for unlawful possession of a firearm while intoxicated. He was charged with felony menacing for pointing a shotgun at one of his roommates while he was drunk, according to KDVR.
Aurora police Chief Vanessa Wilson called Haubert's actions a "very despicable act" and said she is thankful the man he hit is still alive. "We're disgusted," Wilson said. "We're angry. This is not police work. We don't train this. It's not acceptable."
The Aurora Police Department grabbed national headlines for its involvement in the 2019 death of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black who died after three Aurora police officers confronted him because he looked "sketchy" with a ski mask on his way home from a convenience store. A chokehold was used during the confrontation and he was injected with ketamine by paramedics as previously reported.