While injuring and holding his own family hostage, a man choked and beat police officers who arrived on the scene. However, when the violent offender passed away due to asphyxia, heart disease, and obesity after his arrest, the family members he abused decided to sue the police who saved them.
After a report of domestic violence one evening, local police headed out to an apartment complex in Aurora, Colorado. There they found 32-year-old David Baker, a large and aggressive male suspect, who had reportedly choked his brother-in-law and was holding his family, including 10 children, hostage.
Understanding that domestic violence situations are the most dangerous for responding authorities, police wasted no time in attempting to restrain Baker. However, the suspect displayed a level of rage and adrenaline that was no match for the officers’ batons and tasers.
After repeatedly tasing and striking Baker in an attempt to subdue him, the hulking suspect managed to grab hold of several officers, choking a male officer before throwing a female officer to the ground and injuring her. Baker then wrestled and fought for several minutes with at least half a dozen officers, who had to use four interlinked sets of handcuffs on the culprit in order to detain him.
Still, as Baker lay on the ground, he kicked and flailed, continuing to fight off the authorities. Minutes later, he fell silent. Realizing that he had lost consciousness, police performed chest compressions on Baker and checked his airway to ensure nothing was impeding the flow of air. Although they were able to locate a pulse and EMTs performed emergency CPR on the scene, Baker died shortly after.
The Arapahoe County coroner confirmed that Baker died of restraint asphyxia, adding that heart disease and obesity contributed to his untimely death. It was also confirmed that officers and responding EMTs did everything possible to save him. However, despite Baker’s insurmountable resistance toward efforts to help him, the family members he threatened are now suing the police who saved them.
According to Blue Lives Matter, a day after video footage was released, showing Baker attacking police officers and resisting arrest, his family has announced that they plan to sue the Aurora Police Department over his death. Attorney Mari Newman suggested that the bodycam footage from three different cameras was misleading.
“I can’t think of any other instance in which body camera has been released in that way,” she added. “If they didn’t have anything to hide, why should they be going through such contortions to influence how it’s viewed.”
Newman accused Aurora Police Chief Nick Metz of deliberately spreading propaganda in an effort to mislead viewers. Additionally, she claimed that the release of entirely unedited footage from all three bodycams was “wacky” and suspicious. She alleges that the footage was only released because the police department has something to hide.
“It is an incredible tragedy,” civil rights attorney Mari Newman said. “He was a person who was very important to his family. He suffered from mental health issues after his [U.S. Navy] service. This leaves his children without a father.”
In an effort to squash the family’s claims, Chief Metz released a detailed statement, narrating each of Baker’s movements, which align with the video footage. He expressed his condolences to the family but added that his officers had done nothing wrong.
“This was an incredibly violent fight between Mr. Baker and the officers – a fight that started well before the officers arrived, and continued for approximately nine minutes once my officers did arrive,” Chief Metz said. “My officers did not have the option to just get up and walk away from the fight,” he noted. “Officers observed a male being physically choked, which is a felony. It is the duty of the officers to place this male into custody to further prevent any other crimes from occurring, and to protect the family who was present at the time.”
Baker’s family is still pursuing plans to sue the police department for supposed wrongdoing in their handling of an extremely violent, dangerous, aggressive suspect. They somehow believe that not only was Baker’s death preventable but also that the arresting officers are to blame.
The case highlights a disturbing trend in the arrests of violent criminals. If police use guns, they are condemned. If they use tasers and batons, they are condemned. If a suspect violently attacks them and dies while resisting arrest, the police are once again condemned.