Newly released video shows a black woman hogtied in the back of a police cruiser in Colorado — where she fell headfirst onto the floor and rode upside down for more than 20 minutes while screaming for help, according to reports.
The police bodycam footage of Shataean Kelly — recorded during her Aug. 27, 2019, arrest — was played at a civil hearing in Aurora Wednesday for ex-officer Levi Huffine, who was fired over the incident and is appealing his termination, according to CBS Denver news.
“In my opinion, she was just tortured back there. It makes me sick,” said Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson during the proceeding. “We are not judge, jury and executioner.”
Kelly had her wrists cuffed behind her back and her ankles tied together with a black cord attached to a loop around her waist in a restraint known as a hobble.
In the video, she hurls curse words at the officers as they place her face-down on the backseat of the cruiser.
Moments into the ride, she slips off the seat, headfirst onto the floor with her legs in the air, according to the video.
“Hey, my neck is about to break, bro. Can you lift me up? Hey officer, I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe, please help me, please!” she begs Huffine, who doesn’t respond.
At one point, she whimpers, “This is some slavery s–t” and “How many times I gotta beg you master?”
As the ride continues, her pleas become more plaintive and desperate.
“Please don’t let me die back here, officer! Please, officer, I’m a good person, I really am … Please let me out. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to disrespect you,” she says in the video.
At one point in the shocking video, Kelly states, “I’ve never felt so much racism in my life.”
Kelly was arrested for getting into a fight. After she was handcuffed and placed in the back of the cruiser, she tried to open the backdoors, the footage shows. Huffine pulled her out and used the hobble to immobilize her.
During Huffine’s appeal hearing Wednesday, Wilson noted that the backseat door handles are inoperable, and there was no need for the ankle-waist restraint
Wilson said she believed Huffine had hobbled Kelly and refused to help her after she fell to punish her for spewing profanities and insults at him.
Wilson fired Huffine even though the Chief’s Review Board recommended a 180-hour suspension, CBS Denver news reported.
Huffine’s appeal hearing is ongoing. All criminal charges were dropped against Kelly, according to CBS Denver.
Colorado’s Attorney General is currently investigating the policies and practices of the Aurora Police Department after a troubling number of excessive force allegations, The Denver Post reported.
There is a separate AG investigation into the death of Elijah McClain, 23, who died of cardiac arrest Aug. 24, 2019, after Aurora cops repeatedly placed him in a chokehold then paramedics sedated him.
The Aurora Police Department declined to comment. Huffine couldn’t immediately be reached.