Man pistol-whipped by Colorado officer feared for his life

Aug 4, 2021, 4:26 PM | Updated: 11:04 pm

CORRECTS TO ARRESTED, INSTEAD OF CHARGED This undated photo provided by the Aurora Police Department shows Colorado police officer John Haubert who was arrested after he allegedly beat a man with his pistol, choked him and threatened to kill him while attempting an arrest on Friday, July 23, 2021. Haubert faces charges of attempted first-degree assault, second-degree assault and felony menacing for the violent arrest, The Denver Post reported. (Aurora Police Department via AP)

(Aurora Police Department via AP)

DENVER (AP) — A Black man who was pistol-whipped and choked by a suburban Denver police officer said Wednesday that he feared for his life during the violent confrontation that led to assault charges against the officer and later his resignation.

In an interview, Kyle Vinson said he was afraid of dying when Officer John Haubert of the embattled Aurora Police Department held a gun to the back of his head and pointed it at his chest while arresting him on July 23 for a probation violation. The run-in was captured on Haubert’s body-worn camera.

The arrest July 23 stirred new anger over a Police Department plagued by allegations of misconduct in recent years, including the 2019 death of Elijah McClain and incidents involving other people of color.

Vinson is a homeless Army veteran who said he was trying to take a break from the midday heat when police approached. When the arrest turned violent, he said he thought about never being able to see his brother or his friends, ride his bicycle or eat again.

“Just little things like that, you’re just thinking, ‘Oh, this is it. This is my time to go, right now,'” he said.

Vinson said he tried to comply with the officers’ orders as best he could and control his emotions so he would not be killed, noting the deaths of George Floyd and McClain, a Black man stopped on the street by Aurora police in 2019 and put into a neckhold.

“If someone was even not compliant just a little bit, they could have lost their life,” he said.

Haubert’s lawyer has vowed to zealously defend him but did not respond to a telephone call seeking comment Wednesday.

A week and a half after the arrest, Vinson said he still is in pain from his injuries, the worst of which is in his chest from being poked with the gun’s barrel. He said he also suffers headaches and back pain and got six stitches for a cut on his head.

Haubert and another officer had been sent to investigate a trespassing report when they encountered Vinson and two other people who had outstanding felony warrants, according to court documents. The two others ran away.

Haubert is accused of grabbing the back of the Vinson’s neck, pressing a gun against his head, then striking his head with the pistol at least seven times while ordering him to lie on his stomach, according to an arrest affidavit.

“You’re killing me,” Vinson cried as Haubert held him down and struck him, according to the video released by Police Chief Vanessa Wilson following the officers’ arrests. She called it a “very despicable act” and apologized, saying it was an “anomaly.”

The second officer is accused of not intervening as required under a police accountability law passed last summer amid nationwide racial injustice protests.

The law also makes it easier to file lawsuits against police officers over misconduct allegations. One of Vinson’s lawyers, Qusair Mohamedbhai, who represents McClain’s mother in a lawsuit against Aurora, said a lawsuit was being considered in Vinson’s case.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


American Airlines put an unspecified number of employees on leave for their involvement in an incid...

Associated Press

American Airlines CEO calls removal of Black passengers from Phoenix flight ‘unacceptable’

American Airlines put an unspecified number of employees on leave for their involvement in an incident in which several Black passengers were removed from a flight in Phoenix.

4 days ago

FILE - Crystal Baziel holds the Pan-African flag Monday, June 19, 2023, during Reedy Chapel A.M.E C...

Associated Press

The beginner’s guide to celebrating Juneteenth

For more than one-and-a-half centuries, the Juneteenth holiday has been sacred to many Black communities. It marks the day in 1865 enslaved people in Galveston, Texas found out they had been freed — after the end of the Civil War, and two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Since it was designated a federal […]

6 days ago

A Boeing 737 Max suffered damage to parts of the plane's structure after it went into a “Dutch ro...

Associated Press

Plane that did ‘Dutch roll’ on flight from Phoenix suffered structural damage, investigators say

A Boeing 737 Max suffered damage to parts of the plane's structure after it went into a “Dutch roll” during a flight from Phoenix last month.

10 days ago

This photo provided by Randy Shannon shows Mooney Falls on the Havasupai reservation outside the vi...

Associated Press

Dozens report illness after trips to waterfalls near Grand Canyon

Dozens of hikers say they fell ill during trips to a popular Arizona tourist destination that features towering blue-green waterfalls deep in a gorge neighboring Grand Canyon National Park.

11 days ago

Mugshot of Rudy Giuliani, who was processed Monday, June 10, 2024, in the Arizona fake electors cas...

Associated Press

Rudy Giuliani posts $10K cash bond after being processed in Arizona fake electors case

Rudy Giuliani, a former New York City mayor and Donald Trump attorney, was processed Monday in the Arizona fake electors case.

14 days ago

FILE - White House former chief of staff Mark Meadows speaks with reporters at the White House, Wed...

Associated Press

Former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows pleads not guilty in Arizona fake elector case

Former Donald Trump presidential chief of staff Mark Meadows and Trump 2020 Election Day operations director Michael Roman pleaded not guilty Friday in Phoenix to nine felony charges for their roles in an effort to overturn Trump's Arizona election loss to Joe Biden.

17 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinic visits boost student training & community health

Going to a Midwestern University Clinic can help make you feel good in more ways than one.


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.


Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

Man pistol-whipped by Colorado officer feared for his life