WATCH: Cop Claims he was following "Training" when Fired for Hog-tying Woman
A Colorado cop who was fired for hog-tying a woman and transporting her facedown on her head in the back of his patrol car is fighting to get his job back, accusing his former chief of "character assassination" for having the gall to fire him.
Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson said she was disgusted by the actions of officer Levi Huffine, saying he is lucky the woman did not die because he would be sitting in jail.
Footage from Huffine's body camera show him to be a malicious officer who hogtied the woman after accusing her of trying to "escape" from the back of his patrol car even though there is no door handle from inside the car to open the door. Otherwise, people would be escaping all the time from the back of cop cars.
The video from August 27, 2019 shows Shataeah Kelly had her hands cuffed behind her back when she appeared to be fiddling with the door complaining about being falsely arrested but it never came open and at no point did the cop ever express any concern the door would open.
But he didn't like her attitude so he wanted to "punish" her," according to Aurora Police Chief Williams who fired him in February 2020 despite recommendations from the Chief's Review Board that he be suspended for 180 hours.
But Huffine is appealing his termination to the board which apparently has the authority to reverse her decision.
According to CBS Denver:
“In my opinion she was just tortured back there. It makes me sick,” said Wilson after watching the video again Tuesday, during a civil service commission appeal hearing for Officer Levi Huffine, who was fired over the incident. “We are not judge, jury and executer,” said Wilson. “We are not to treat people inhumanely like they don’t matter.
“And he is lucky she did not die in the backseat of that car. Because he would be — in my opinion — in an orange jumpsuit right now,” said Wilson.
Huffine arrested Shataean Kelly, 28, on Aug. 27, 2019, on municipal charges resulting from a fight. On his bodycam video, Officer Huffine decides to hobble Kelly — tying her handcuffed hands to her feet when he said she tried to escape from his patrol car by trying to open door handles in the backseat.
Wilson testified the door handles in the backseat are inoperable and in her opinion, hobbling Kelly was unnecessary. She said she felt Huffine was “punishing” the prisoner who had also been verbally abusive toward the officer.
“The hobbling in my opinion was another form of punishment,” said Wilson.
The video shows Kelly slipping off the backseat, head first, after a few minutes, as the officer was driving her to jail. She ended up with her head on the floor of the car and her legs in the air. She rode that way for 21 minutes, according to an internal affairs investigation. Wilson said Kelly could have easily died of positional asphyxia.
The video shows Huffine was very eager to hogtie her and even had chords wrapped around his boots he evidently uses for this purpose.
Huffine arrested Shataean for fighting with another woman. It is not clear what led up the fight but Shataean was claiming to be a victim who was defending herself while the cop accused her of starting the fight. Charges stemming from the fight were dismissed against Kelly.
Huffine testified before the board that he had no idea she was in that position despite her multiple pleas, according to CBS Denver.
For the entire ride, Kelly complained she couldn’t breathe, was afraid her neck was going to break, could be heard sobbing and screaming and said she was afraid she might die.
Under cross examination by an assistant city attorney, Huffine acknowledged he heard Kelly beg for help, heard her scream in pain and at one point beg him for help calling him “master.”
But Huffine testified he never turned around to look at what was happening.
“Looking back in hindsight, I’m very remorseful that I continued and I made the choices, but I didn’t know she was in that position. I’m sorry. It was a mistake. But I had no clue she was in an inverted position in the backseat of my car.”
Huffine testified he was trying to get Kelly to jail as quickly as possible so she could be released from the hobble.
“I was relying on my instinct and training and it happened. There’s nothing I can do to change that.”
Watch the shortened video above or the longer video below or here.
Terminated Officer Levi Huffine BWC Footage
Body worn camera footage from Former Aurora Police Officer Huffine taken on February 27, 2019 of a prisoner transported that resulted in his termination from...