Ex-Colo. police officer found guilty of failing to stop partner’s excessive force
Francine Martinez was the first law enforcement officer to be convicted by a jury of the charge created under the new landmark police accountability bill
By Elise Schmelzer
The Denver Post
AURORA, Colo. — An Arapahoe County jury found a former Aurora police officer guilty of a misdemeanor Friday for failing to stop another officer from pistol-whipping and choking an unarmed man.
Francine Martinez was convicted of failure to intervene — the first law enforcement officer to be convicted by a jury of the charge created under the landmark police accountability bill passed after the 2020 George Floyd protests.
Martinez did not stop fellow former officer, John Haubert, from beating Kyle Vinson with his duty pistol, choking him and threatening to kill him, even though the man never attempted to hurt or threaten the officer.
Haubert and Martinez were dispatched to a trespassing call on July 23, 2021, and contacted three men. Two of the men fled when the officers tried to arrest them on warrants, but Vinson stayed put, body camera footage of the incident shows.
The man “was not striking, punching or kicking Officer Haubert” and was not making any life-threatening actions toward the officers, the arrest affidavits authored by an Aurora police detective state. After the arrest, Martinez was fired from the police department and Haubert resigned.
“In this case, Officer Martinez had a front-row seat to the brutal assault of Mr. Vinson at the hands of her fellow officer,” Vinson’s attorneys at Rathod Mohamedbhai said in a statement. “Her failure to protect Mr. Vinson was unconscionable and in violation of her basic duties.”
Martinez is scheduled for a June 2 sentencing hearing, at which she faces a maximum sentence of 364 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
“Officers have a duty to intervene in situations like this,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Brian Sugioka said in a news release. “Officer Martinez failed to do anything to de-escalate the situation and stop the assault.”
Aurora city leaders already paid $850,000 to settle civil claims brought by Vinson, city spokesman Ryan Luby said.
Haubert in June pleaded not guilty to six charges — including felony assault and menacing charges — and is scheduled for trial in November.
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