Aurora police released body cam video showing handcuffed suspect being thrown to ground

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An Aurora police officer is under investigation for an August incident in which he suddenly threw a handcuffed man to the ground, causing the man to bleed while escorting him out of the Medical Center of Aurora.
The Aurora Police Department released body-worn camera footage of the incident, saying the footage had already been “​​released … to the media in accordance with state law” but that they were “releasing the video to the public as part of our continued commitment to community transparency.” The 7-minute-long video includes footage from the perspective of the officer who threw the suspect to the ground, as well as two other officers who were present.

While a police spokesperson declined to release the name of the officer who used force on the suspect, the name “W. Oxford” was printed on the officer’s name tag, which is visible at multiple points during the video.

A search of the state’s Peace Officer Standards & Training Board certification database shows that William Oxford was the latest Aurora officer to become the subject of a criminal investigation.

At the start of the video, Oxford locks the handcuffs of the man, referred to as “Jesus,” as Jesus is seated on a hospital bed. Oxford and other officers then escort Jesus through a hallway toward the exit of the hospital.

Oxford argues with Jesus as the two walk through the building, with Oxford holding onto Jesus’ arm. As they approach the exit door of the hospital, Jesus turns to face Oxford. Oxford then tells Jesus to “stop resisting,” places his right hand behind Jesus’ neck and throws him to the ground, slamming the side of Jesus’ face into the floor.

As blood drips from his face, Jesus begins crying and yelling at Oxford. Another of the officers laughs and says, “that’s quite enough.” Oxford tells Jesus that he threw him on the ground because Jesus had “tensed up” and “started to pull away.”

A police spokesman was not immediately able to say what the suspect had done prior to being placed in handcuffs, though Oxford claims at the start of the video that Jesus had tried to flee from police.

In the news release, police indicated Oxford was removed from enforcement duties in February and would remain in that position until the conclusion of criminal and internal investigations. Police said that, because of how the incident was originally classified and the caseload of investigators, the incident wasn’t investigated until mid-January.

“The Chief of Police authorized an internal investigation into the incident and requested the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to conduct a separate, external criminal investigation,” police wrote.

“The criminal investigation by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation is complete and was forwarded today to the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office for consideration of filing formal charges. The internal investigation is ongoing.”

They further said that, moving forward, officer supervisors would immediately investigate all uses of force incidents, followed by an evaluation at the district level. If necessary, investigations will then be forwarded to the Force Investigations Unit for review. Internal investigations and criminal investigations will also take place simultaneously.

“In the past, when an officer was accused of a crime, the practice has been to wait until the criminal investigation was completed and adjudicated before launching an internal investigation. That is not a good practice,” police Chief Art Acevedo said in a statement.

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