Image via Aurora, CO PD via Twitter.
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The City of Aurora, Colorado faces a civil rights lawsuit for shooting a homeowner who holding a shotgun — by the barrel — within his own residence. The victim, Andrew Huff, claims that officers who were in plain dark clothes as they approached his home at night, only identified themselves as they opened fire. Huff took a round to the rectum.

Now he’s the one firing legal shots at the cops involved as well as the City of Aurora.

A blistering federal magistrate’s “Report and Recommendation” in Huff v. City of Aurora, paints a damning picture of excessive use of deadly force by the officers. It recommends rejecting their claims of qualified immunity given their apparent unreasonable actions when assessed under the Graham v. Connor precedent, and by other facts in the case as well.

The judge’s report also criticizes the City of Aurora for a lack of training of their officers in de-escalation and how to respect homeowners and their right to possess guns in their homes.

What’s more, by backing the officers’ actions in Huff’s case — as well as a similar 2018 case in which the APD shot and killed a homeowner standing inside his home, the suit suggests the city effectively encouraged such unconstitutional behavior.

Eugene Volokh does a deep dive on the case at his Volokh Conspiracy blog . . .

From Magistrate Judge Reid Neureiter’s Report and Recommendation yesterday in Huff v. City of Aurora (D. Colo.) (the ultimate decision will be in the District Judge’s hands, though such Magistrate Judge Reports and Recommendations are generally quite influential)

At 11:30 p.m., Officers Ord, Marrero, and Oviatt, without any advance notice to Mr. Huff, went to Mr. Huff’s home. They parked around the corner and, wearing all black clothing, proceeded to “creep” through neighboring yards towards Mr. Huff’s residence. When Mr. Huff, who was smoking outside, saw these unidentified individuals advancing upon his home, he believed that Mr. Bejar-Gutierrez was following through on his earlier threats. He ran inside and retrieved a shotgun. He was facing the window with both hands by his side. His left hand held the shotgun by the barrel—his finger was not on the trigger and the gun was pointed at the ceiling. About 30 feet away, Officer Ord drew his weapon and, as he yelled, “Put your hands up, put your hands up!”, fired five shots at Mr. Huff. Mr. Huff, who was diving away from the window as Officer Ord opened fire, was shot in rectum and severely injured. Another round entered the room where his daughter lay sleeping.

I am not a lawyer, but I know that courts generally take a dim view of police shooting homeowners standing inside their homes carrying or holding a legally-possessed firearm in a non-threatening manner. Furthermore, if the cops weren’t in uniform, concealed their approach and failed to identify themselves before firing, they have even less leeway to shoot first and ask questions later.

Volokh shares the magistrate’s in-depth analysis of the use of force by the cops. Spoiler: It doesn’t look good for the troubled Aurora PD . . .

Officer Ord attempted to justify his actions by exclaiming that Mr. Huff “came into the window with a gun,” and afterwards stated, “They are racking up in the garage,” when, in fact, Mr. Huff, bleeding profusely on the floor, was merely calling 911 for help. Mr. Huff was charged with multiple felonies, all of which were ultimately dismissed. The second is a claim for municipal liability brought against the City for its allegedly unconstitutional policies, practices, and customs.

So the APD filed multiple felony charges against the homeowner. Was that a little CYA on the part of the officers involved? It surely looks that way, given how prosecutors ultimately dismissed all of them. As for the city’s liability . . .

And the Magistrate Judge also concluded that municipal liability was possible here, because Huff “has sufficiently alleged that the City failed to train Officer Ord in the use of appropriate force when confronted with individuals exercising their Second Amendment right to keep bear arms in their homes, and that the City’s final policymakers ratified Officer Ord’s allegedly unconstitutional use of deadly force”:

Mr. Huff alleges here that “[n]ot only does Aurora have absolutely no training on shooting into residences or encounters with homeowners exercising Second Amendments rights, but it has also almost zero training on avoiding unnecessary escalation, and deficient training on proportional constitutional use of force.” If true, this demonstrates the APD’s deliberate indifference to its citizens’ constitutional rights, especially given how many American homeowners—exercising their well-established Second Amendment rights—legally own and possess firearms. Accordingly, at this early stage, Mr. Huff’s Amended Complaint plausibly states a claim against the City under a failure to train theory….  (Emphasis added)

Maybe the Aurora Police Department should have spent less time on critical race theory and diversity equity and inclusion training and more time concentrating and training officers on dealing with citizens who lawfully exercise their civil rights and protect their homes from violent criminals.

After all, they suspended the Aurora police union head after he criticized the diversity hiring practices of the city. From RawStory . . .

The head of the Aurora Police Union was suspended after sending a letter complaining about diversity requirements for the police department, local CBS4 reported Tuesday.

Aurora has been fielding several scandals that has ushered in a series of changes to the department.

That evidently triggered Police Union President Doug Wilkinson, who sent an email complaining about “diversity hires.”

“To match the ‘diversity’ of ‘the community’ we could make sure to hire 10% illegal aliens, 50% weed smokers, 10% crackheads, and a few child molesters and murderers to round it out. You know, so we can make the department look like the ‘community,'” the email said.

Back to Eugene Volokh’s piece . . .

According to Mr. Huff, APD Chief Paul O’Keefe publicly supported Officer Ord after the shooting, stating that Officer Ord complied with APD policy and did nothing wrong. Mr. Huff further notes that former APD Chief Nick Metz publicly backed the officers who shot and killed Mr. Black in 2018. No officers were disciplined in either case. Mr. Huff argues that this amounts to ratification and is evidence of the APD’s unconstitutional policy of shooting at homeowners lawfully exercising their Second Amendment rights….

Chief O’Keefe’s failure to discipline Officer Ord after shooting Mr. Huff cannot, on its own, plausibly form the basis of municipal liability on a ratification theory. However, … “[a] failure to investigate or reprimand might also cause a future violation by sending a message to officers that such behavior is tolerated.” That is what Mr. Huff alleges here. He claims that after police shot and killed Mr. Black in his home, then-Chief Metz publicly stated the officers did nothing wrong and none of them were disciplined. Then, Chief O’Keefe, after “carefully review[ing] and analyz[ing] Officer Ord’s decision to shoot Plaintiff,” under circumstances similar to those that resulted in Mr. Black’s death, likewise determined that the officer’s actions were in line with APD policy. If the City’s final policymakers took affirmative steps to not merely condone but also commend the allegedly excessive and unconstitutional use of deadly force by APD officers, this deliberate conduct may be enough to establish the existence of an official informal policy, whatever the formal written policy may provide….

It looks as though the City of Aurora — which has had more than its share of problems with its police force — might want to break out the checkbook and see if they can make this go away in a settlement using taxpayers’ dollars. Because if this goes to a jury, it surely looks like Mr. Huff is holding all the cards.

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89 COMMENTS

    • The police looked like burglars. That’s why he fetched the shotgun.

      I guess it couldn’t have waited till the morning? Why was their red and blues not turned on?

      • Why was their red and blues not turned on?

        Says they parked around the block.

        The police looked like burglars. That’s why he fetched the shotgun.

        Apparently, he had a beef with some bad folks who had threatened him, and he thought the cops were the bad guys (with good cause in this case) coming to get him. At least he used the Chiraq Obiden approved shotgun.

        • “The police looked like burglars.”

          Yep. They only “look” like burglars.
          It’s not like they were sneaking around his house waiting to kill him.

  1. Simply having a gun in your possession is not a crime. As much as the fascists in the burden white house wish it so, it ain’t.

    These cops and the present admin in DC and it’s supporters need to face Nuremberg 2.0 charges. Serial human rights and civil rights violations.

    • Fascists? LMAO! 😀
      You boomers all need to go the way of the dodo for anything to really change in this country.
      Yellin, Mayorkas, Blinken, Garland, Bernstein, Walensky, Neuberger, Cohen, Levine, Klein, Resnick… Yeah, they all have something in common and it has nothing to do with fascism, other than that it was the antidote to their poison.

      • You need to look up fascism peter, (is your family name puffer?) then you need to read all the stories about Biden’s ATF wandering the country, violating people’s rights. Biden’s White House is far more fascist than any other recent administration.

        • You’re conflating fascism with authoritarianism. Fascism is an right wing economic style with the left wing counterpart being communism. The American left cannot be fascist and socialist at the same time

        • FASCISM defined:

          government control of private means of prodution
          No fascism here. BUT.. this stuff is at the root of what’s going wrong with this natio. Those in power are using excessive force, deciding who are good guys/bad guys, attempting to intimidate citizens whilst giving a free pass to far too many whose very presence within our boundaries is a crime. All of which help set the stage for what certainy DOES appear to be a move to install true fascism as the new “operating system” in this country.

        • Fascism is an right wing economic style

          You forgot to add: European Right Wing is STILL way left of the American Moderate center and Fascism is a whole lot more than just some ECONOMIC agenda.

          an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization.
          synonyms:
          authoritarianism · totalitarianism · dictatorship · despotism · autocracy · absolute rule · Nazism · rightism · militarism · nationalism · xenophobia · racism · [more]
          derogatory
          extremely authoritarian, intolerant, or oppressive ideas or behavior:
          “an outright ban is just fascism”
          very intolerant or domineering views or practices in a particular area:

      • peter,

        Look up the definition of “fascist”, sweetheart. Then Google the activities of Senile Joe’s ATF, FBI, DoJ, etc. since his “inauguration”. If that doesn’t read “fascist” to you?? You have a reading comprehension issue. I understand most places offer very low-cost adult education programs. Perhaps a remedial reading class is in order.

        Mind if I call you “Mr. Gobbler”? I’m a formal kinda guy.

        • So you think the government over reach of the liberal administration is a move to push us closer to a right wing economic style? Does nobody know what that word means?

        • a move to push us closer to a right wing economic style? Does nobody know what that word means?

          dacian is that you? Maybe you should have taken a course in World Government as well, you SHOULD look up the definition of FASCISM.. Hitler was a fascist, Mussolini was a fascist (he actually created the word), Franco (Spain), Tojo (Japan) all fascists and do YOU honestly believe ALL they cared about was economic parity for the people?

        • Econ101,

          Tell us you never took economics, without SAYING that you never took economics, you useless tw**.

          “Fascism” is an authoritarian (usually nationalist) style of governance that may be, and HAS BEEN practiced under a number of different economic rubrics. Hitler had his government/corporate fascism, which was vaguely socialist. Mao had his government-owned and controlled economy, which purported to be communist, but was, in fact, socialist (for your edification, dimbulb, the Oneida Colony was about as close as we’ve ever gotten to “real” communism. Do try to keep up, shortbus.). Pinochet was an authoritarian rightist fascist, who vaguely pursued capitalism, but actually practiced government/corporate “crony capitalism”.

          Now, as an exercise for the student, describe both the governing style, and economic model, of Cuba under Castro. No points will be awarded for partial answers.

      • You boomers all need to go the way of the dodo

        Another 30/40 years ALL the “Boomers” will be gone, and YOU will need to come up with a new boogieman which means YOU will actually have to think for yourself, I see problems in YOUR future.

  2. Nothing to see here. Just cops being cops. Move along.

    Oh, yeah, the next time it could be you, and you might not be so lucky as to be shot in the assh0le. Your heart and your head are bigger targets.

    BTW, it’s difficult for the cops to claim that the victim was a threat since the victim was facing away from the cops.

  3. I look at all of these things through the eye of, “If I’d done that what would happen”.

    The cops (all of the ones on site) need to be sent to prison and the city needs to pay a big check.

    case closed

  4. “Little bastard shot me in the ass!”

    Sure hope he gets a way bigger settlement than the city has insurance to cover since they need to feel the pain of their bad behavior.

    • I strongly suspect someone never understands the true value of taking a dump until they no longer can.

      TTAG medical pros, what’s recovery from a gunshot wound to the sphincter like? Do they plumb you for a colostomy bag until it heals?

      if I could no longer take a dump normally again, I’d want a 7-figure payout from whoever was responsible for doing that to me… 🙁

      • Geoff,
        Having suffered the indignity of both hemorrhoid surgery then a perforated colon several years later, I can assure you that having a colostomy bag sucks big time. Even after reversal five months later. It literally took years for my GI system to approach normal. Seven figure buy-off isn’t enough. Start with EIGHT figures.

      • Do they plumb you for a colostomy bag until it heals?

        That would be a necessity.

        Start with EIGHT figures.

        With the first digit in the 9 range..

  5. Throw them in jail for attempted manslaughter and assault with a deadly weapon and pay the poor homeowner a big compensation. Not from the taxpayers, from the officers bank accounts. Sell their house and car if you have to.

    • ^^^ This ^^^

      (what Max Mueller said)

      There was no legitimate basis whatsoever for those police officer/s–who were trespassing on the homeowner’s property by the way–to shoot the homeowner. That was a criminal act.

      • Listen to the video. According to police, he was the suspect in an assault, and as such they had probable cause to come on his property to question him. [Of course, the assault may have been the other way around, and he was the victim, but we do not know.]

        • Mark N.,

          Easy claim to prove, or disprove. IF they were operating under the law, they had to have either a warrant, or an ongoing investigation of an actual crime. Both of those would be matters of record.

          Since they were apparently in all black gear, it would have had to have been the local SWAT squad . . . are these guys SWAT?? If not, they were out of uniform (which means they were NOT on official police business). If they were, there should have been other police behind them (SWAT almost never operates alone, they always have uniformed back-up).

          Sounds like we might have had a bunch of wanna-be Rambos, determined to take out a local “scumbag” (i.e., anyone the local cops don’t like). Violated more laws, constitutional rights, and policies than you can shake a stick at.

          Smells like . . . *long sniff* . . . cover-up, to me.

        • . are these guys SWAT??

          Swat or not one of them is a really good shot. Did they really shoot the guy in the Rectum? Keeping in mind the rectum is the last 4.7 inches of the colon culminating in the dacian (aka asshole), hell of shot at night through a window with a handgun?…

        • I encourage you to read the Volokh article. The man was the victim of car theft and assault earlier in the day. There was a police investigation and filed report. These police officers were too eager to hum “Bad Boys” and take down supposed bad guys based on the word of an addict.

      • most states, firing wihtin 350 feet of a residence is a serious crime (I know I’d lose my Mother May I Card AND my guns, for life) so they should be charged and convicted with that as a start.
        Next is criminal tresspass while armed, and with intent to do harm.
        after that, but not necessarily the end of the string of possible charges, is firing into an occupied dwelling, a felony in nearly every state.
        Then there remains a charge of felony attempted manslaughter.

        • murder 2 he had intent to do it. if there’s proof he said anything before getting there about shooting someone murder 1. premeditated.

  6. Why were the cops sneaking through the victims yard? Did they have a warrant? Were they responding to a report of a crime in progress. If not, then the cops were committing a criminal act even before they opened fire.

    I blame the gun control lobby for conditioning to many police to have a Freudian phobia of firearms and perceive any citizen with a gun as a threat. While I am, or at least was, generally supportive of law enforcement, the Aurora PD has obviously declared open season on gun owners. Perhaps gun owners should declare open season on the Aurora Police? I suspect that having a half dozen officers preemptively shot with hunting rifles from a few hundred yards away or a shotgun at closer range would be far more persuasive than a lawsuit.

  7. Why were they in ninja gear advancing on his residence? Sounds to me like a hit team. Can’t understand why you stand in front of the windows holding your shotgun by the barrel when ninjas advancing. Seems to me could have shot all 3 of them unidentified armed invaders

  8. “APD Chief Paul O’Keefe publicly supported Officer Ord after the shooting, stating that Officer Ord complied with APD policy and did nothing wrong.”

    Clearly O’Keefe should lose his job.

    As I understand it, Aurora is pretty much the Austin of Colorado

    • “To match the ‘diversity’ of ‘the community’ we could make sure to hire 10% illegal aliens, 50% weed smokers, 10% crackheads, and a few child molesters and murderers to round it out. You know, so we can make the department look like the ‘community,’” the email said.

      “As I understand it, Aurora is pretty much the Austin of Colorado”

      Makes me think the APD already reflects community values. The proof of the pudding is in the eating.

  9. If the victim was Black there would be a justified protest march, no charges and a lawsuit victory. Since the victim is white there will be no justified march, charges remain and should be protesters will continue sitting at home eating Doritos waiting for a Perry Mason moment. In such cases in America the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

    This Colorado incident sounds as disgusting as the recent incompetent grocery store parking lot security guard who shot and murdered a man sitting next to his wife in a SUV. Both cases are equally indefensible.

  10. It seems to me that police have less self control than the average citizen in the same position. As far as the charges against the homeowner, just trying to cover their ass. It will be the tax payer who ultimately foots the bill for the lack of judgement.

    • Statistics have those with Mother May I Cards shooting “the wrong guy” on accident as one ninth the rate of coppers doing the same, and of breaking ANY laws about one sixth as often as cops do. And WE hit the bad guy about four to five times as often as the coppers do.

      So yes, we as a class or group ARE far less dangerous than the coppers.

      The Framers had it right when they declared “the security of a free state (means any body of people) to be dependent upon armed citizens, as opposed to government and/or military.

  11. NEIGHBORHOOD MILITIA ??
    O JUST GREAT NOW Y’ALL HAVE RIGHT TO SHOOT Y’ALLS
    NEIGHBOR .. O NEVER MIND
    SHOT THAT WRECK UM UUUH RECTUM , HELL , NEARLY KILLED HIM … OK I GET SOME HUMOR FROM IT ..
    YEAH REALLY POLICE SHOULD USE MORE STROBE LIGHTS AND BULL HORN , TO ANNOUNCE THEIR ENTRY AT ALL TIMES DAY OR NIGHT …

    • NTexas,

      Serious question: Are you unhinged, or just “learning disabled”?? Should we call for a “wellness check” on you??

      Oh, and STOP F***ING YELLING AT US, @$$HOLE!!!!

      • Not gonna happen. He reminds of a guy a few years back on various gun sites that wrote in all caps. Got called out on it numerous times. Claimed it was because of vision problems. Got busted when another commenter asked how did you read and respond to my post if it wasn’t in all caps?

    • A neighborhood militia does not confer the right to shoot neighbors, unless that neighbor is in the act of a forcible felony against another person.

      Leave the hyperbole to the entrenched fascists’ wannabes.

  12. Cops shooting people through doors, windows, walls, etc usually results in a civil judgment in favor of the person who was shot and/or killed. There was a swatting incident where the swatter had the wrong house, and the police shot the resident through a window who came downstairs with gun to see what was going on at 2 a.m. I worked on a similar case in California. Cops see gun, cops shoot. These are not good shoots. A person possessing a firearm does not mean that the police officer had a reasonable fear of serious injury or death in such cases–proactive shooting the subject is not permissible.

  13. The Aurora PD can’t seem to go 3 months without doing something stupid, often with tragic results. There are some less than stellar departments on the Front Range, but Aurora puts the rest of them to shame. The mayor needs to step up and clean house, but I’m not holding my breath. He was once my congressman, and a gutless Rino.

    • Sounds like that mayor got a demotion. Politicians don’t usually climb down the ladder from Congress to a relatively small-town mayorship. I don’t think he’s even qualified for that. Do the people owe him favors?

  14. But the officers made it home safely and that’s the most important thing right? Now they’ll get a month of paid vacation.

    Police are heroes, back the blue! /sarc

    • As in every organization you have those who are there for the right reasons and others are plain wastes of human flesh.

      The majority of police I have had cause to interact with were professional and not hot headed morons. Of course I am in a red island of a blue sea. If I wandered off the island of red into the blue, I would likely have a different perspective. The red minded officers seem to be more professional of the bunch.

  15. Well since he stood in the window with his hand on the barrel of the gun…

    To me that was his way of warning the people in his yard he was armed and he expected them to retreat once they realize he had a gun…

    He probably be dead if he had the gun in his hands…Since he was holding the barrel it bought him precious seconds which saved his life, since it probably took the officer a few seconds to realize he had a gun!!!

  16. APD is the clown shoes of police departments. Reno 911 and Super Troopers seem to be their role models.
    They also killed an unarmed autistic young man walking home, killed a hearing impaired grandfather in his home after he called the police about a naked intruder in his granddaughter’s bedroom, pulled over the wrong car as stolen and held the woman and 4 children at gunpoint, had a rookie shot in the back of the head in a classroom during a gun class, had numerous innocent people shot, and the list goes on. It’s one of the few places where defunding the police might actually make the community safer.

  17. It isn’t easy to pierce qualified immunity when the police are somewhere for a legitimate purpose and shoot someone who is armed, but this certainly seems like it could be an exception.

    The fact that it was “pointed up” as if that’s not dangerous is not persuasive to me, it certainly looked like it could be used quickly in the body cam video. I also question the statement that the police were “plain dark clothes.” Does he mean a dark police uniform or plainclothes? With body cams? Patrol officers? Makes little sense.

    However, this was a person in their own house, at night. The home has the most constitutional protection against police. At some point, a cop has to take risks to do the job. And maybe that risk is to shout “POLICE, DROP THE GUN” (which should be instinct for a well trained officer) and take cover instead of starting blasting.

    • Does he mean a dark police uniform or plainclothes

      Probably means they were TACed out in black SWAT gear… Kinda lke ISIS, Mexican Cartels etc.

      • Doesn’t look like that in the video although it’s hard to tell. Doesn’t really make sense for patrol officers in most cases, either.

        • Could be, I didn’t look at the video just went by the description and the cops’ words that “they were racking up in the garage” Might have just been black Ts and jeans…

  18. It’s ok, they are handling the investigation and most likely will find nothing wrong and everyone gets a vacation.

    This is your thin blue line.

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