An African American woman whose family was handcuffed, detained and forced to lay on the ground by Aurora, Colorado police has rejected the apology of its chief, saying it is “not good enough.”
Brittney Gilliam told MSNBC host Joy Reid on Thursday (Aug. 6) that she and her family were out on a “girls day” to get their nails done when the salon they were going to turned out to be closed. When she started to look to see if there was another open, she heard a man say something akin to “I’m going to record.”
Unbeknownst to her, police were approaching her vehicle when suddenly one of her nieces said, “auntie, the police are behind us.”
She said she didn’t know why the police were behind them, but she yelled toward an officer, “hey why do you have your guns drawn,” she told Reid. The officer ordered them to put their arms out of the car’s window, then to exit one by one.
That began an encounter in which Gilliam and her family, including her sister, daughter and several nieces, ranging in age from 6 to 17 were held at gunpoint. Police claimed they believed that the family was traveling in a stolen vehicle. But there was a mixup: the license plate number matched that of a motorcycle from Montana that was reported stolen.
Aurora Police Chief Valerie Wilson issued an apology and promised an internal investigation into the incident. But Gilliam told Reid that the police themselves never apologized for the mistake during their ordeal.
“It’s uncalled for, and it shouldn’t have happened,” said Wilson in an interview with Denver station KMGH. But Reid asked Gilliam if the apology was good enough for her, to which she replied, “no, it’s not good enough for me.”
In an interview with CBS Denver, Gilliam said that she was devastated by what she and her family went through. “I never felt so embarrassed, humiliated and dehumanized in my entire life.” It is unclear if she will be taking legal action against the city of Aurora, but the station said she does want change in the department.
Photo Credit: KUSA-TV/Screengrab