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Aurora police sergeant on administrative leave for 'unprofessional conduct' during traffic stop

Aurora Police Department Sgt. Ed Acuti body-worn camera video.png
Posted at 12:21 AM, Oct 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-21 02:21:16-04

AURORA, Colo. — An Aurora police sergeant has been placed on administrative leave after another officer reported misconduct during an arrest involving a juvenile in June.

The reported misconduct occurred during a traffic stop on June 29, which can be seen on Sgt. Ed Acuti’s body-worn camera video released by the Aurora Police Department.

The incident began with officers from the Gang Intervention Unit pulling over a 17-year-old for speeding in the area of E. 2nd Avenue and N. Airport Boulevard, according to a statement from the department. An officer on the video can be heard saying she was going 68 mph in a 40 mph zone.

A man is in the passenger seat of the red car, and as officers try to bring him out, he takes off running. According to police, a loaded, stolen gun falls out of his pants as officers chase him, but they are unable to take him into custody.

The 17-year-old, who did not have a license, is placed in handcuffs. As Acuti can be seen searching the vehicle, throwing litter on the ground and processing evidence, the teen can be heard in the background continually asking another officer to call her mom and that she needs to check on her 9-month-old son.

As she’s raising her voice to the officer, Acuti turns around and engages with her, loudly telling her to “act like an adult.” He then screams “shut your f------ mouth” as she screams and yells expletives as well.

Acuti is seen turning away from her, but she then is heard saying “y’all kill people.” At this point, Acuti turns back to her as she’s standing up and he forces her back to the ground.

After he holds her down with his hands on her shoulders for approximately one minute, she begins to calm down, saying “I’m sorry. I’m just scared.”

Acuti is also heard on the video telling the teen “you better keep your f------ mouth shut” and “I’ll make your life a f------ living hell.”

The teen was eventually taken to the Aurora Jail on charges of speeding, driving without a license and obstructing a peace officer and released that evening.

The department said in a statement that the “profane and unprofessional language” is “not consistent with the training or expectations of an Aurora Police officer.”

After viewing the video, Chief Vanessa Wilson said she was deeply concerned.

“In every interaction, we must strive to treat individuals with respect and remain professional,” Wilson said. “I commend the officers that are unwilling to compromise their integrity and continue to report misconduct that jeopardizes the work we, as an agency, are trying to accomplish with our community.”

The APD is finalizing the internal affairs investigation. Acuti will remain on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

The APD has been dealing with multiple controversial interactions in recent years, including the death of Elijah McClain and the arrests of Kyle Vinson and Preston Nunn III.

The department is currently facing a dire staffing shortage. The Aurora police union also overwhelmingly passed a no-confidence vote in the Aurora police chief earlier this month.

In September, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser released details of a 14-month investigation by the Colorado Department of Law into the APD. Weiser said Aurora police showed a “consistent pattern of illegal behavior” and that the department “does not create and oversee appropriate expectations for responsible behavior.”