Colorado police officer charged with assault after violent arrest

AURORA, Colo. (KUSA/NBC) ؘ– The police chief in Aurora, Colorado released body camera video on Tuesday showing the actions by one of her officers that she called “despicable.” The video shows an officer hitting a man in the head with a gun and choking him.

It’s video that is hard to watch and could be triggering for those sensitive to violent scenes.

Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson described the video as despicable, horrific, not normal, and said watching it had brought her to tears. She said, “This video will shock your conscience, it is very disturbing.”

It was early afternoon last Friday; a call for trespassing on South Parker Road.  When Officers John Haubert and Francine Martinez got to the scene, two of the suspects took off. When they realized the third suspect, Kyle Vinson, had a warrant for a probation violation in Denver, the officers tried to arrest him and the situation quickly turned violent.

According to Chief Wilson, body camera video shows officer Haubert pistol-whipping Vinson 13 times, according to Chief Wilson, causing several large welts on Vinson’s face.  At one point, Haubert also held Vinson down by his throat and threatened to shoot him.

Vinson was treated and released from the hospital and is now in the Denver jail on that probation violation. Aurora police aren’t charging him with trespassing, or any other crime.

When asked how an incident like this is possible, Chief Wilson replied, “I don’t know.”

Prosecutors have charged Officer Haubert with several counts of assault and Officer Martinez with failing to intervene.

At a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Aurora’s visibly shaken police chief apologized to Kyle Vinson, and to the community, and vowed to redouble her efforts to reform the department.

“We are disgusted,” Chief Wilson said. “We are angry, this is not police work. this was not the Aurora Police Department.  This was criminal.”

Attempts by NBC News to reach Haubert at phone numbers listed in public records that may be linked to him weren’t successful Tuesday evening. His attorney said he couldn’t comment because it is early in the case. He said, “We will be zealously defending Officer Haubert.”

Attempts to reach Martinez at phone numbers listed in public records that may be linked to her weren’t successful Tuesday evening. It wasn’t clear whether she has an attorney.

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