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Aurora police apologize after mistakenly detaining young mom at gunpoint

young mom detained at gunpoint by aurora police.jpg
Posted at 7:11 PM, Dec 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-03 12:03:38-05

AURORA, Colo. — It was obvious that a young mother was still very shaken Wednesday following her first encounter with Aurora Police Department officers.

On Nov. 13, 24-year-old Ana Castanada was pulled over by police near N. Galena Street and N. Colfax Avenue. Her 3-year-old child was in the back seat.

Officers approached her vehicle with their guns drawn and put her in handcuffs while she was laying on her stomach before sitting her up on the curb.

The car she was driving was reported stolen, but even officers found it a bit strange that she pulled over as soon as she saw the sirens behind her.

"She is not taking off, which is interesting," one officer is heard saying in an APD body camera footage provided to Denver7.

Another officer responded saying, "So, she may not know that it's stolen."

Regardless, the vehicle was listed as stolen and that required a "high-risk stop," which means officers can draw guns immediately, according to APD spokesperson Matthew Longshore.

It wasn't the routine traffic stop Castanada was anticipating.

"I was scared for my life, my kid's life," Castanda said. "They had all their guns drawn out at me. Then, they handcuff me, they put their knee on my back, which is kind of painful. So, I can see people's perspective of why they don't like that situation."

It's a situation Castanada was confused about the whole time.

"In my head I was like, I know I didn't do anything wrong. It has to be a mistake on their part. This is crazy. I was scared. I was like, I better just do as I'm told," Castanada said.

Castanada informed officers the vehicle was hers and that she had just gotten it back after it was repossessed by the Lakewood Happy Motors. Officers called the dealership and confirmed it did not report the vehicle stolen.

Castanada was released with several apologies by officers. Two days later, an APD commander called her with more apologies.

Turns out, the whole situation came down to a clerical error, according to Longshore. He said after contacting the record unit, officers discovered there was a clerical mistake "where they actually checkmarked the wrong box from 'repossessed' to 'stolen.'"

It's an error Longshore said is very rare.

"I can't remember the last time something like this happened. Just a clerical error in our record unit that has since been addressed by the supervisor, and now [there is] more of a checks and balances type thing," Longshore said.

Castanada said she appreciates the department's apology, but has been traumatically impacted by the incident.

"That apology is not going to take the fright away from me. It's not going to do much for me. They already traumatized me. I can't drive down Colfax or any street, for that matter," Castanada said.

Castanada's attorneys are investigating the matter.

She said she's just happy that her 3-year-old was asleep during the incident because of what trauma the situation could have caused her as well.