Colorado mass detention: Aurora lawsuit alleges constitutional violations in bank robbery case.

Colorado Police Sued for Mass Detention During Bank-Robber Chase

Colorado Police Sued for Mass Detention During Bank-Robber Chase

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May 19 2014 1:29 PM

Colorado Police Sued for Handcuffing, Detaining 28 Innocent People to Catch a Bank Robber

The scene of the detention.

Court document

Via The Dissenter, news of a just-filed lawsuit related to a bizarre incident from two years ago in Aurora, Colorado, a city in the Denver metropolitan area. Police in Aurora apparently stopped between 28 and 40 people—19 cars' worth—at gunpoint, then handcuffed them, searched them, and detained them the side of the road for more than two hours in the process of finding a bank robbery suspect they had tracked to a specific intersection. They did ultimately apprehend the suspect, but now nine of the individuals detained have filed suit against the city and police, citing violations of their constitutional right to due process and the constitutional prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures. The suit alleges an unwarranted level of aggressive behavior by authorities:

...the officers demanded that all vehicle occupants hold their arms up and outside of their vehicle windows. They brandished ballistic shields and pointed assault rifles directly at innocent citizens, including children under ten years old.

In all, at least sixteen police cars surrounded the group, the suit alleges. There's also a comic subplot involving an officer coming from downtown Denver with a device that's supposed to be able to figure out which car the stolen money is in, only he has to wait to get the device because the FBI office where it's stored isn't open on Saturdays, then he keeps getting delayed on the drive over, then when he finally arives with the device it turns out no one at the scene knows how to use it. Classic! The suit does not name a specific amount sought in damages.