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Black Girls Held At Gunpoint By US Police Receive $1.9M Settlement

The city of Aurora has agreed to a $1.9 million settlement with a Black family from Colorado following a 2020 incident where police mistakenly stopped Brittney Gilliam and her four juvenile relatives at gunpoint. The officers, erroneously believing Ms. Gilliam was driving a stolen car, subjected the family to a "high-risk stop." The encounter, captured on video, showed the girls being ordered to lie face down on a hot parking lot and handcuffed.

In response to the incident, Aurora's police chief, Vanessa Wilson, apologized, acknowledging the mistake and offering therapy services for the affected children. Ms. Gilliam subsequently filed a lawsuit, accusing the officers of "profound and systemic" racism.

The incident unfolded when Ms. Gilliam and the girls, having discovered a closed nail salon, returned to their car. Approaching with guns drawn, officers wrongly identified their vehicle's license plate as matching that of a stolen car from a different state. The family, including Ms. Gilliam's 12-year-old sister and 17-year-old niece, was handcuffed as they lay on the ground, prompting cries from the children.

Upon realizing their error, officers immediately released everyone involved. The recently announced settlement, confirmed by the family's lawyer David Lane, is deemed satisfactory by all parties involved. In a statement, Lane expressed contentment with the resolution.

A spokesperson for the Aurora Police Department emphasized their commitment to strengthening community relations through accountability and continuous improvement in public service.

Feb. 7, 2024 2:36 p.m. 1223

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