AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)– It all began last August with what Brittney Gilliam called a “Sunday, Funday;” she and four young girls in the family went to get their nails done and then some ice cream. But things suddenly changed when Aurora police mistakenly thought they were in a stolen car.
The video of the children face down on the hot asphalt in a parking lot, held at gunpoint, went viral. Police had the right license number, but it was for a motorcycle with Montana plates, not Brittney Gilliam’s car.READ MORE: Jefferson County Public Health Sues 3 Schools That Are Violating Mask Requirement
At the time Gilliam told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger, “That’s not a mistake, that’s a choice that you made. At any point in time you could have changed the route that it was going.”
Now she is suing not just the City of Aurora, but each of the police officers involved.
David Lane, the attorney for Gilliam and the children, said it’s the first such lawsuit under the new Police Accountability Bill passed by Colorado lawmakers after the death of George Floyd.
“If the department concludes at the end of this case that these cops should have known better than to pull guns on a 6-year-old, they are going to be responsible out of their own pocket for up to $20,000 of any settlement or judgement,” Lane said.READ MORE: Colorado Weather: Fall Temps, Smoke And Dusting Of Mountain Snow On The Way
In the lawsuit, a number of other cases were cited as examples of Aurora police mistreatment of minorities, including that of Elijah McClain. He died after being stopped by police after a call that he was walking down the street acting strange. McClain was injected with Ketamine and placed in a restraining hold.
The City of Aurora says the officers followed protocol, but they have adjusted training practices and have offered to pay for therapy for the children.
Gilliam said in August, “They are never going to be ok, that was a traumatic experience. Would your kids be ok after that?”
She says it is a scene that is playing over and over again in their minds since that day.
The lawsuit, filed in Arapahoe County District Court, is asking for more than just money, it’s asking for an apology in writing from the Aurora Police Department.MORE NEWS: Here Are 8 Of The Most Popular Fall Colors Viewing Destinations In Colorado
The Arapahoe District Attorney’s Office recently announced it would not file criminal charges against the police officers involved in the incident.