A video clip of a distressed woman hobbled in back of an Aurora police patrol car has surfaced as part of a civil service hearing in which the officer, who was fired in February, is trying to get his job back.
Officer Levi Huffine was fired, for “severe misconduct,” in February for an incident that happened in August of 2019, according to police.
Huffine was taking a woman to jail, on suspicion of municipal code violations in connection with a fight, when she was placed in a soft restraint hobble, which controls a person’s ankles and can be connected to a waist chain or belt.
The woman, placed inside the vehicle laying on her stomach, pleaded that she couldn’t breathe and that her neck was going to break. Over a 20 minute period, Huffine did nothing to help her, according to a summary of the incident. During the woman’s arrest, police, on body-camera video, comment that she is being uncooperative and threatening to escape.
Police Chief Vanessa Wilson, who fired Huffine, spoke to the Aurora Civil Service Commission on Tuesday.
“We work for the citizens, they have expectations we should uphold,” Wilson said.
Huffine’s actions in the incident were contrary to department expectations, according to Wilson, and the firing was valid.
“If you break the law, if you treat someone without humanity, if you abuse your power, you’ve got to go,” Wilson said.
The hearing is in its second day on Wednesday and Huffine, who joined the department in 2012 and had no significant prior disciplinary records, is scheduled to speak. At the conclusion of the hearing, likely on Wednesday, the commission meets in a closed session to deliberate.
After deliberation, a report is written and the decision is released. The process typically takes a week or two, but complexity of the cases, and the length of deliberation, could extend the finality.