Police in Aurora, Colorado are apologizing to a family after they were pulled over, handcuffed, and had guns drawn on them during a stolen vehicle mix up.
The incident occurred on Sunday while Brittney Gilliam drove her 6-year-old daughter, 12-year-old sister and 14 and 17-year-old nieces to get their nails done.
Gilliam says that when she pulled up to the nail salon, she sent one of her nieces out of the vehicle to see if the nail salon was open while the rest of them sat in the vehicle in a parking space.
That’s when several officers from the Aurora police department pulled up behind the vehicle and told everyone in the car to put their hands out of the window. They then approached the vehicle with their guns drawn.
Gilliam says that she and their girls were instructed to exit the vehicle and lay flat on their stomachs with their hands behind their backs. At that time, Gilliam, her sister, and her niece were handcuffed despite not knowing why they were being arrested. It was only after they were in cuffs that police told them what was going on.
Officers then told Gilliam that she was being arrested because the vehicle she was driving had been reported stolen. Gilliam then told officers that her vehicle was reported stolen in February and that it was returned to her the next day by their police department. Gilliam then offered to show officers her registration and insurance information as the officers began putting the children into handcuffs.
” If you wanted to place me in handcuffs at that point, I would have gladly agreed to that because you had a job to do and you did it under the right protocol, but you pointed a gun at four kids and then you proceeded to start handcuffing the kids.” Gilliam told reporters.
Gilliam says police later told her that it was a mix up and released them.
Interim Chief of Police Vanessa Wilson told reporters that she has since called the family to apologize about the mix up and offered age-appropriate therapy for the children who may have been left traumatized by the event:
” I have called (Gilliam’s) 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,”‘ Wilson continued.
Wilson also explained that it is part of the officer’s training to approach stolen vehicles with extreme caution and that the mix up with the vehicle could have possibly been because it was stolen earlier in the year and that the a motorcycle with the same plate had also been reported stolen in another state.