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A woman was allegedly assaulted by an off-duty Aurora officer in filing a lawsuit against the city

Aurora, Colo. A new lawsuit filed on behalf of a woman who was allegedly attacked by an off-duty Aurora police officer says the department has a pattern and practice of officers using excessive force.

Yuma Martinez was severely beaten outside her apartment complex in January, by another apartment occupant: off-duty officer Douglas Aaron.

The suit alleges excessive force, false arrest and failure to train.

a crime

Affidavit: An off-duty Aurora officer hit a woman with a disability multiple times

1:16 PM, January 12, 2023

According to the lawsuit, Martinez suffers from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) that causes severe pain from increased sensitivity.

On that cold night, her disability was causing swelling and stiffness, so she had to take a slow walk outside with her dog.

“Defendant Aaron entered the parking lot. Appearing frustrated because Ms. Martinez was not moving fast enough — due to CRPS and her poor gait — Defendant began revving his engine and came dangerously close to striking Ms. Martinez and her dog,” the suit reads. “After Ms. Martinez pointed to the icy, snow-covered sidewalk and indicated that she was doing her best to extricate herself from the situation, Mr. Aaron pulled over, got out of his car, and began berating Ms. Martinez.”

The suit says Martinez told Aaron she had a disability, but then Aaron allegedly began hitting her. According to the lawsuit, Martinez was punched, beaten to the ground, and choked.

“I was shocked about it. Because of all the people who should be able to show some restraint, you wish it were the police,” said an eyewitness who asked not to be identified.

During the attack, the lawsuit says, Aaron identified himself as an officer and told Martinez she was under arrest. Eyewitnesses told Denver 7 that they saw the same thing.

“Mr. Aaron pulled out his APD police badge, identified himself as a police officer, and told Ms. Martinez she was under arrest. The lawsuit also states that he gave his badge numbers to the Good Samaritans who intervened and assured them that he was a cop — and that he was doing his job.” “. “Even after Ms. Martinez has been released, Mr. Aaron — according to his authority as a police officer with APD — explained that she is not free to leave, that she is “going to jail,” and that she is being held until other officers arrive.

When law enforcement officers arrived on the scene, Aaron was arrested and is now facing criminal charges in the criminal case against him. The Aurora Police Department confirmed that Harond resigned from the department a few weeks later while he was being investigated.

Martinez said her road to recovery is long. She has suffered many serious injuries, including traumatic brain injury, impaired vision, anterior abdominal wall trauma, acute exacerbation of CRPS and significant mental and emotional damage.

Martinez released a written statement via her attorney, asking the city to “take this matter seriously and make the necessary changes.”

There was no limit to the repercussions I suffered from this accident. This man assaulted me for simply walking my dog ​​too slowly. I had no idea that fateful night while I was in my pajamas and taking my dog ​​outside that my life would change forever. I am now navigating the multiple physical and emotional effects of this event during what was supposed to be a hopeful year for me that has now turned into a nightmare. These are the people who are supposed to protect us, but now I am facing a life with amnesia and so much more. I feel fortunate that I did not lose my life like many others, but at what cost? I can only pray that the city of Aurora takes this seriously and makes the necessary changes so that no one else in the community will be assaulted in this way again.”

The lawsuit requires a jury trial. It highlights previous cases of excessive force reported by APD officers and claims that Aurora has failed to create expectations for offices to act responsibly. She also claims that Aurora has a pattern of officers using force to transport people to Earth without giving them time to respond to the officers’ commands.

“Unfortunately, this is yet another incident involving a person of color — and a person with a disability — who was harmed by an officer with the Aurora Police Department. While this is a particularly egregious case, and a very violent case, it doesn’t feel surprising at this point given the city’s history. But we are grateful. Forever to the brave witnesses who stepped in to save Ms. Martinez, and the first responders who provided her with care after this attack, said Zack Warren, Martinez’s attorney.

Denver 7 has reached out to the City of Aurora and APD about the lawsuit. Both said they could not comment on the pending lawsuit.

Haroun reappeared before a judge in June for a preliminary hearing on the criminal charges against him.


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