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Photos: Aurora cops illegally detained dozens while searching for bank robber, lawsuit claims

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detained.motorists.lawsuit.scene.2.jpg
The scene in June 2012. More photos and two documents below.
On June 2, 2012, Christian Paetsch, a former high school music teacher, broke bad in a big way, donning a beekeeper's mask to rob a Wells Fargo bank in Aurora.

Aurora police officers subsequently took Paetsch into custody, but only after detaining dozens of vehicle passengers, including children, for well over an hour. Now, many of those individuals have filed a lawsuit in the case. Here are the details.

The suit, which we've included below, notes that the cash stolen by Paetsch, who was sentenced to just over seven years behind bars for the crime back in April 2013, included a GPS transponder that signaled its general location to the Aurora Police Department. But attorney David Lane, who represents the plaintiffs in the suit, says the APD didn't have the proper equipment needed to zero in on the device's exact location.

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Images from the scene are from Fox31 coverage.
"The FBI had the pinpoint locator," Lane notes, "but it was a Saturday, and when the Aurora police called, no one was home. So an on-duty agent had to drive for over an hour to get the pinpoint locator -- and when he finally arrived, he didn't know how to use it.

"At that point," he continues, "everybody had been detailed for over an hour. People were pulled out of their cars at gunpoint, including a fourteen-year-old child, who had a high-powered rifle pointed directly at his chest. And pointing weapons at children is never all right unless the child is armed or you have some compelling reason to believe the child is armed."

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Surveillance footage of Paestch in action.
In addition, Lane points out that "they knew the robber was a man about five-feet-six-inches and 130 pounds, but they patted everybody down regardless of their physical description. And even after they were found not to have any weapons, they were still put into handcuffs and forced to sit on the curb for hours while their cars were searched. And this went on even after they identified the robber. They kept searching cars for possibly up to a half hour after they'd already gotten him."

Ultimately, everyone other than Paetsch was released, but Lane argues that many have had long-lasting effects as a result of the tactics. He highlights one plaintiff, Tim Olson. "Tim was taken out of his car at gunpoint and they officer told him roughly, 'Get on your knees.' Tim said, 'I just had surgery. I can't.' But they pushed him down on his knees anyway, and then they picked him up even after he'd told them he had a bad shoulder, too. There's a video of the police jerking him up by his shoulder. He's still in physical therapy for it all this time later -- and Tim didn't match the description of the robber at all. He's six-one and weighs 230 or 240 pounds."

detained.motorists.lawsuit.scene.bank.jpg
The bank robbed by Paetsch.
Paetsch also complained about the search procedure; in a federal complaint, he moved to suppress evidence based on constitutional violations. This demand was rejected by government authorities, who stated that "the roadblock, although a 'seizure' of all of the individuals stopped, was constitutional because it had a proper purpose and was implemented in a reasonable manner, given the exigent circumstances under which the law enforcement personnel involved were operating."

Continue for more about the Aurora search lawsuit, including additional photos from the scene, two documents and more.



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21 comments
muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

When bad police ignore the law, how much further is it to a police state?  We need more good officers and A LOT fewer bad cops.  

How about some good cops to arrest the bad cops.

John Wayne Claybaugh
John Wayne Claybaugh

They handcuffed innocent people whom they knew were innocent? Why do they still have badges?

Betel Eli Guese
Betel Eli Guese

there are actually more democratic cops then conservative. the few cops that i know who are conservative are the ones who surprisingly stand up for peoples rights and the constitution all the time. most of them have already left the force couse of the coruption.

Adam Johnson
Adam Johnson

Fuck the police take that tax money back!!! Uhhh suck it bacon!!

Chris Bastian
Chris Bastian

Daniel Burton, it seems far fetched to most but almost too little too late.

Chris Bastian
Chris Bastian

You know what its the banks job to protect itself. This is over and above the rights given to law enforcement but when is it too much law enforcement?? Only when people fight back will this stop. No one fights until their rights are violated though!

Daniel Burton
Daniel Burton

I agree with Dustin Nelson. Every cop that violated the citizens constitutional rights as an American should be fired. They should receive no 401k, retirement, or any other benefits. Also they should be permanently banned from ever being a police officer again. Even if they were only following orders. The nazis were only following orders and look what happened. It's happening here and now in America, and if all of us citizen's refuse to stand up and fight the government for our constitutional freedoms. History will repeat itself. Let's stop this holocaust while we still have a chance.

Mark Bromley
Mark Bromley

Good for them, hope the cops loose. But this is the 4C state. Corupt Courts for Cash Colorado. Finding an honest judge in Colorado is going to be hard, especially if there is government grant monies making sure the judges do as the police want. Remember there is no Justice system only the person who can buy it.

Justin Kershman
Justin Kershman

Hells ya!...you detain me, handcuff me and treat me like a criminal because your searching for somebody?...oh ya I'm gonna sue the piss outta that department for crapping all over my constitutional rights! What garbage!

Dustin Nelson
Dustin Nelson

Every cop involved should lose his badge.... forever

Jason Smith
Jason Smith

They need to be sued. That's a huge violation of civil rights. A lot of cops are conservative but have no problem disregarding the fourth.

Luke Henderson
Luke Henderson

While I'm not for the 'sue happy' culture we live in, it does seems that this needs to be stemmed now to prevent the use of such tactics to get out of control. The technology used should have made it an easy catch, but because of the FBI office being closed, the distance a field agent was away that could operate it, and then the failure to be able to operate it, are all issues that can be addressed and used correctly can be avoid this issue going forward. But indeed, we can't have police stopping entire groups of individuals unrelated to a crime and detaining them at-will.

NoisePollution
NoisePollution

Sue these thugs for all their worth. Which ain't much.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Sycophantic Americans Love to Submit to Government Power ... it makes them feel "safer".



muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

Conservatives supporting the constitution?  You silly little radical right winger! 
Your yappy little cult is the American Taliban.

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