The lawyer representing the family of a man shot by Aurora police last month says police have retaliated against him by towing his legally parked vehicle from in front of his office Monday morning.
Lawyer Derek Cole said he was on the phone with Police Chief Dan Oates on Monday morning, talking about setting up a meeting with his clients when Oates asked for, among other things, his work and home addresses.
By the time Cole got off the phone and made it back to his office, his Volvo had been towed by police for improper registration. Records showed his registration had expired, even though he had current tags...
Cole is the attorney for the family of Darius Murray, who was shot by police May 9.
Police at first reported that Murray, 19, accidently shot himself in the head, after officers investigating a car burglary shot him in the leg and shoulder. They later changed the story, saying an officer fired the shot to his head after Murray fired at them first.
Aurora police spokesman Bob Friel said the call and the towing were not related and there was no retaliation by the chief or the department.
"There is no connection between the car and the call," Friel said. "As to the reason why we towed it, it was in violation of the law."
After further investigation, police determined the registration record was not accurate and Cole's registration was, indeed, current.
I'll state the obvious. The cops are lying in the underlying case and they are also lying about not having the car towed. This case doesn't pass the plausible deniability test. At the very least, towing a car for bad registration when it has valid stickers on the plate is both reckless and inexplicable. Crime is not so low in Aurora at the moment that people are randoming trawling the vehicle registration records to look for unregistered vehicles to tow. This doesn't happen, ever. It certainly doesn't happen by accident to someone currently bringing a suit against Aurora cops for wrongful use of force while he is on the phone with the police chief providing contact and location information.
Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates, or someone who was in contact with him, committed a serious crime. A civil excessive use of force case is now a criminal conspiracy to obstruct justice case as well. Two people have recently been sentenced to death in Arapahoe County for interfering with pending court cases. It is not appropriate for the authorities to simply blow off this incident. The public integrity section of the FBI, the Aurora Police Department's Internal Affairs unit, the Colorado Attorney General, the judge in the civil case, and the Aurora City Council are all in a position to take action here.
Even if Oates didn't personally order this done, he should be fired for failing to maintain discipline in the Aurora police force.