A Black woman who was removed from her car at gunpoint with her underage family members by Aurora, Colorado, police officers last year has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the city and police officials.
The woman, Brittney Gilliam, had taken her younger sister, her daughter and her nieces for a “Sunday funday” in August when Aurora officers, their guns drawn, ordered her and the girls to lie face down, according to the lawsuit, which was filed Monday in Arapahoe County. Bystanders posted video of the incident last year that showed four girls in the group on the ground, some handcuffed, crying and screaming as officers surrounded them.
Gilliam was out with her 17-year-old sister, her 6-year-old daughter and two nieces, ages 12 and 14, to get their nails done and venture out for ice cream afterward, the lawsuit says. The family went to a nail salon, only to realize that it was closed, and they were sitting in the parked car looking on Gilliam’s phone for another salon. That’s when officers approached the car and ordered Gilliam and the girls to get out of the vehicle, saying they would tell them what was going on after they got out, the lawsuit says. Gilliam, her sister and her 12-year-old niece were held at gunpoint, and handcuffed, according to the lawsuit, but handcuffs were too big for her 6-year-old daughter. Instead, officers asked the 6-year-old and Gilliam’s 14-year-old niece to hold their hands above their heads with their faces on the pavement. The family was held for about two hours until a sergeant arrived, the lawsuit says.