WATCH: Video Shows Aurora Police Handcuffing & Detaining Black Girls in ‘Mistake’

Aurora Police Department

Twitter The Aurora Police Department issued an apology after a group of Black girls were detained and handcuffed.

The Aurora Police Department in Colorado issued an apology after a group of Black girls were detained and at least two of them were handcuffed on Sunday after authorities were investigating a stolen car, the Associated Press reported the following day. A viral video taken by bystanders shows the girls crying and laying on their stomachs in a parking lot.

“I have called the family to apologize and to offer any help we can provide, especially for the children who may have been traumatized by yesterday’s events. I have reached out to our victim advocates so we can offer age-appropriate therapy that the city will cover,” interim police Chief Vanessa Wilson said.

Wilson explained that investigating a stolen vehicle is considered a “high-risk stop.” That means police may draw their weapons, tell the individuals to get out of the vehicle and lie on the ground. In this case, where there were teenagers and a girl as young as 6, Wilson said police should use their discretion. She’s now having her department look into new methods and training for officers.

The incident caught the attention of actress and activist Alyssa Milano, who said the officers should be fired. “Colorado’s Aurora Police Department has opened an internal investigation after several children were handcuffed at gunpoint during a weekend traffic stop. These police officers should be fired for this bulls***,” she tweeted.

The Girls Cried For Their Mother

The girls ranged in age from 6 years old to 17 years old. At one point, one of the girls cries for her mother. The 17-year-old and the 12-year-old were handcuffed, while the 14-year-old and 6-year-old were laying on their stomachs next to them, the AP reported. Toward the end of the video, an officer helps the girls in handcuffs so they can sit up, but then leaves them on the ground. Driver Brittney Gilliam was taken away in handcuffs.

Authorities later determined they wrongfully stopped the Colorado vehicle. It had the same license plate number as a motorcycle from Montana that was reported stolen.

Gillem also explained that their vehicle had been reported stolen in February but it was returned to her. She had all the documents to prove to the vehicle belonged to her, and that’s when police realized they made a mistake, TMZ noted.

“The confusion may have been due, in part, to the fact that the stopped car was reported stolen earlier in the year,” the Aurora Police Department told TMZ. “After realizing the mistake, officers immediately unhandcuffed everyone involved, explained what happened and apologized.”

The girls were on their way to the nail salon, the driver told the AP. She was with her sister, daughter and nieces and called the incident an example of police brutality.

“You could have even told them ‘step off to the side let me ask your mom or your auntie a few questions so we can get this cleared up.’ There was different ways to handle it,” Gilliam told the publication. “There’s no excuse why you didn’t handle it a different type of way.”

Elijah McClain Was Killed by Officers in The Aurora Police Department

Protests have erupted in Aurora following the death of George Floyd Minneapolis, which revived criticism of Aurora police over the August 2019 death of Elijah McClain. He was placed in a chokehold and given 500 milligrams of the sedative ketamine.

McClain went into cardiac arrest and later died after he was declared brain dead and taken off life support. The chokehold, which cuts off blood supply to the brain, has since been banned in some cities after Floyd’s death.

Police were originally called because they were told a “suspicious” person was wearing a ski mask and waving his arms. Three white officers stopped McClain. “Stop right there. Stop. Stop. … I have a right to stop you because you’re being suspicious,” they said, according to bodycam footage cited by KXAN. “Relax, or I’m going to have to change this situation.”

McClain told them he was an introvert: “Let go of me. I am an introvert. Please respect the boundaries that I am speaking.”

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