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Crime and Courts

Aurora police officer fired for not intervening in pistol-whipping arrest

An internal affairs investigation found that Francine Martinez violated several directives within the Aurora Police Department, including her duty to intervene

A screenshot from body-worn camera footage shows Officer John Haubert holding a man down by his neck during an arrest July 23. (Provided by Aurora Police Department)

A suburban Denver police officer was fired Thursday for failing to intervene when a fellow officer pistol-whipped and choked a man during an arrest.

An internal affairs investigation found that Francine Martinez violated several directives within the Aurora Police Department, including her duty to intervene, KMGH-TV reported. The police department wrote in a blog post it would not release any other information about the firing while the district attorney’s office investigates the July 23 arrest.

Martinez’s fellow officer, John Haubert, resigned amid the investigation into his alleged excessive use of force on Kyle Vinson, 29. The former officers are facing charges stemming from the arrest.

Haubert’s lawyer, Reid Elkus, has vowed to “zealously defend” his client. A phone number for Martinez could not be found Thursday night, and it was unclear if she had an attorney who could speak on her behalf.

The officers were sent to investigate a trespassing report when they encountered Vinson and two other people who had outstanding felony warrants, according to court documents. The two others ran away.

Haubert is accused of grabbing the back of the Vinson’s neck, pressing a gun against his head, then striking his head with the pistol at least seven times while ordering him to lie on his stomach.

The arrest stirred new anger over a police department plagued by allegations of misconduct in recent years, including the 2019 death of Elijah McClain and incidents involving other people of color. Vinson is biracial and identifies as Black.


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