2nd PROTEST: Aurora police release name of cop who shot unarmed black man, no other details

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AURORA | A week after the Aurora police shooting of an unarmed black man being arrested by a SWAT team, police officials released the name of the officer who fired the lethal shot, but officials said little else about the incident that drew a second protest in as many days.

About 40 people turned out Thursday evening for the second protest at city hall, mostly peaceful, bent on pushing police to at least tell the public what happened during the March 6 arrest gone wrong, which led to paroled convict Naeschylus Vinzant, age 37.

The protest drew Aurora state legislator Rep. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora, who joined the group in asking for information and an open investigation.

“I’m looking for transparency,” with the investigation, Fields said.

Police yesterday identified the shooting officer as Aurora police SWAT veteran Paul Jerothe, with the department since 2006. He is part of the Aurora Police SWAT team and shot Vinzant once in the chest, although no details about the shooting have been made public.

Police have now said they will no longer comment at all about the shooting, referring reporters to Jefferson County district attorney investigators. The case was transferred out of Arapahoe County because Jerothe was on the scene of the 2012 Aurora theater shooting and will play some role in the imminent trial of James Holmes. To avoid an appearance of conflict of interest, the Vinzant case has been moved to an outside prosecutor.

The moves and lack of information continue to frustrate Vinzant’s family and police critics, especially in the light of national controversy over police shootings of blacks.

Paul Jerothe
Paul Jerothe

“We understand the community’s frustration with the lack of information being released about this case,” said Police Chief Nick Metz. “To ensure a full and thorough investigation and to protect its integrity for Mr. Vinzant’s family, the officer and the community, we must be judicious in limiting the release of information that might jeopardize the final outcome of this case.”

Heavy police presence at Thursday’s protest was obvious, with numerous rifled police on city buildings at the city hall complex at East Alameda Parkway near South Chambers Road.

Signs at the protest read, “This is the new Jim Crow” and “Words alone don’t bring justice.”

The protest started and ended peacefully, with one contentious moment where pro-police activists argued briefly with police critics.

In 2013 Jerothe was named the National Tactical Officers Association’s Tactical EMS officer of the year for his role in the July 2012 Aurora theater shooting.

“Officer Jerothe provided medical assistance to numerous victims, ultimately saving many of their lives,” the organization said in announcing the award.

After a week of investigation, police had not concluded interviews with Jerothe about the shooting. Officials said he was put on administrative leave and hired an attorney to represent him, standard practice across the country.

Police were able to get a statement from Jerothe Thursday, but they released only his name and no other details.

Police said Monday that Vinzant was wanted on kidnapping, robbery and parole violation charges when he was being sought for arrest and shot.

During a protest Wednesday, anti-police activist Shareef Aleem, the organizer behind  a longtime critic of Aurora police, said Vinzant’s shooting has angered people in part because it stands in stark contrast to the arrest of accused Aurora theater shooter James Holmes, who despite killing 12, wounding dozens more and being heavily armed, was taken into police custody without incident.

Aleem said Thursday he was pleased police released the name of the officer that shot Vinzant, but he’s frustrated they can’t get details about the shooting almost a week after it occurred.

“This isn’t how police handle other shootings in the city,” Aleem said. “The police are usually forthright about information when someone else is the shooter, but this makes it look like they have something to hide.”

“A. Jackson, 27, of Denver, said Wednesday he knew Vinzant briefly and was a godmother to his children.

Fighting back tears, Jackson, who asked to only give her first initial, said Wednesday his death was just the latest in a string of unnecessary deaths of unarmed black men in this country at the hands of police.

Naeschylus Vinzant, 37She said she was especially frustrated with the slow pace of information from police.“It’s unfair all the way around. How do you explain that to his kids?” She said.

“They don’t want the truth to be told of what really happened,” she said.

She said the community’s anger will only grow if police don’t release more information.

“When you hide the information, what does that lead to? Raging in frustration,” she said.

Metz stressed again Wednesday that he was completely confident in the way officers are handling the case. He said when he arrived at the scene that afternoon, he found a crime scene that was under complete control and detectives asking all the right questions.

Metz said the uproar last year in Ferguson, Missouri, is definitely on his mind as he goes forward with this case.

“I think any chief who is dealing with this goes right back to what happened there,” he said.

Metz said he didn’t want to criticize another department, but he said there are lessons to be learned from Ferguson.

“Everybody recognizes that there are certain things you do and you don’t do,” he said. “And there are certain things you do that are going to inflame a situation more than you have to.”

 

THURSDAY POLICE STATEMENT

Aurora Police are identifying the officer involved in the officer involved shooting that occurred on March 6th in the 16200 Block of East 12th Avenue.

The officer involved in the incident is Paul Jerothe. Officer Jerothe has been employed with the Aurora Police Department since 2006. His current duty assignment is SWAT Paramedic with the Aurora Police SWAT Team. He has no prior officer involved shootings.

Detectives with the Major Crimes Unit were able to conduct an interview with Officer Jerothe earlier today. Once detectives have completed their investigation the facts of the case will be presented to Peter Weir, the District Attorney for Jefferson County, who will then make a determination on appropriate actions. We have been directed by the district attorney’s office not to release any additional information about this case.

Chief of Police Nick Metz wants to reassure the members of our community that a thorough investigation is being completed into this case, he said, “We understand the community’s frustration with the lack of information being released about this case. To ensure a full and thorough investigation and to protect its integrity for Mr. Vinzant’s family, the officer and the community, we must be judicious in limiting the release of information that might jeopardize the final outcome of this case.”

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John Christy
John Christy
6 years ago

Its one thing to be transparent, its another thing entirely to provide his photo. Thank you carrion media for showing it, and thank you APD minions for providing it. Yeah, i already made this comment

Jojo know
Jojo know
6 years ago
Reply to  John Christy

Thank you, and who was the female protesting on behalf of the police?????

This has to STOP !
Prayers for the two OFFICERS in Ferguson.
People who stir the pot must lick the spoon!

Ashley In Aurora
Ashley In Aurora
6 years ago
Reply to  John Christy

Well, Aurora is an “All America City”, right? This city won’t be satisfied until it’s fanned the flames and gotten it’s national media attention like Ferguson. The criminals have more rights than the law abiding and Aurora caters to it by endangering this officer.

Aldo Elmnight
Aldo Elmnight
6 years ago

“Police said Monday that Vinzant, who was wanted on kidnapping, robbery and parole violation charges, was unarmed when he was shot. ”
Gentle Giant!

Jojo know
Jojo know
6 years ago
Reply to  Aldo Elmnight

Yep, a role model for his 7 children.

gofastgo
gofastgo
6 years ago
Reply to  Jojo know

And WITHOUT a job too, what a wonderful person.

Jon_Amendall
Jon_Amendall
6 years ago

What happens if the transparency process shows that the officer was justified in his shooting? Will the race-baiting community agitators such as Aleem, Shannon, and Fields say, “Fine, thanks for the information, never mind.”?
Doubtful. If they were interested in accurate information, they would hold off their protests until they had such information.
We hope Officer Jerothe gets his due justice, though he is already condemned by the media and other racists.

Skylark
Skylark
6 years ago

You want traction? Don’t use a kidnapper as your poster child.
In fact, don’t use any black man as a poster child for anything. I take that back; it works well for the ridiculously high crime rate within the black race.
But seriously, what the black man is actually upset with is his socio-economic status within the USA. No liberal sentiments of equality can remove the fact that mental capacity is the bottom line in why the white man will always have the edge on every other race. There is no reason to be ashamed of your being white, “privileged” or any other negative connotation that has been attached to our race. Being politically correct does not mean that whites must ignore the things that define them. We are smart. We are this nations builders. We are strong. So when a few criminals get killed due to incidents precipitated by their own actions, nobody cares. You want traction? Learn to read, pull up your pants, speak clearly and be respectful.
The deep irony is they may be literally too stupid to understand their actual position which is permanently behind the white man.

Jon_Amendall
Jon_Amendall
6 years ago
Reply to  Skylark

Your disgusting, asinine assertion of white racial superiority is not helpful. You are entitled to your opinion, and we defend your right to say it, but you are painfully wrong.
While kidnappers should not be used as poster children for a cause, no ethnicity should be ashamed of itself, and literacy and rhetoric should be basic skills for all, none of the causes of socio-economic disparity are due to some inherent difference in mental capacity.

gofastgo
gofastgo
6 years ago
Reply to  Jon_Amendall

I know you’re wrong. I also know you’re wrong about criminal statistics, and how much is done by either race. If you fail to see that, place your head back in the sand hill and shut up.

Skylark
Skylark
6 years ago
Reply to  gofastgo

Please, do some actual research on the black crime rate. Department of justice stats are a great place to start. Take into account the population disparity and you will see a ridiculous amount of crime committed by the black race. It’s so far above and beyond any other race that it can be applied to their skin color. Too bad isn’t it?

gofastgo
gofastgo
6 years ago
Reply to  Skylark

If you noticed, apparently not, I was replying to Jon Amendall, not you, I agree about blacks and crime. Don’t pick arguments with someone who agrees with you.

Skylark
Skylark
6 years ago
Reply to  gofastgo

My bad gogo. It’s the order in which the messsages came in that led to my mistake.

Skylark
Skylark
6 years ago
Reply to  Jon_Amendall

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Im saying whites shouldn’t feel ashamed for being superior in many ways. Its not a bad thing. If blacks can’t better themselves due to the assumption that the white man is keeping then down then never will they coalesce with our diverse society. I am willing to take it further based on actual investigation and tell you that the socio-economic realities in our country are only based on the majority of young black men and women who would rather not learn the basic skills of literacy and knowledge. My head is held high, not in the sand as you suggest. It’s that reason that im able to see the reality within the black community. It’s ugly all over.

Disgusted
Disgusted
6 years ago
Reply to  Skylark

Your racist attitude towards black men is part of the problem. My husband is an honorable,intelligent, law abiding black man. And we raised a responsible black boy to a responsible black man who is a US Marine who defends your freedom to speak your hateful, nasty words.

Jojo know
Jojo know
6 years ago
Reply to  Disgusted

Wonderful, he must be a good man.
Thanks for serving this country!

gofastgo
gofastgo
6 years ago
Reply to  Disgusted

There are some blacks, like yourself, who are upstanding citizens, but, overall, the majority of blacks are not, and that’s what’s wrong. You cannot life someone up by pulling someone else down. I’ve been to many majority white neighborhoods, where the lawn is cut, the houses are neat and clean and the cars are shiny. I’ve been to a few majority black neighborhoods where none of that is the case, unkempt and trashy, I wouldn’t want to see what the inside of the houses look like, I have a notion about that too. From shows I watch occasionally on police actions, when they go inside the homes of some folks, they are disgusting and filthy. Racist or factual?

Jojo know
Jojo know
6 years ago
Reply to  gofastgo

Well, said.

Skylark
Skylark
6 years ago
Reply to  Disgusted

Yes, it is disgusting, but my attitude isn’t racist. My attitude is based on facts not emotion. Are there black men of honor? Yes. Are there smart black men? Yes. However, the overwhelming majority of black people have a major disadvantage in this world and its due to genetics. Knowledge can be ugly. Doesn’t mean it should be hidden for the sake of the accused. I have love for others and I pay respect to everyone. It just seems today’s respect is given by not addressing the problems in the black community. Blacks have a problem that can never be fixed. Not even by themselves.
If you’re disgusted it’s due to the actions of your fellow blacks not the reactions of one white guy.
Give me three fresh ideas on how the black community can be helped for the better and I will show you the white community already doing those things.

Jojo know
Jojo know
6 years ago

The shooting is under investigation and no one gets any information or answers! What answer do you want, that his career criminal record was the obvious stating he was a very dangerous man. They don’t call SWAT on a petty thief person.
He was going to prison and Thank God, he didn’t have a gun, this is one man you don’t want to have any weapons.
Police are not at WAR with criminals or racism this has to STOP, breaking the law when will you understand they must be accountable and stop blaming the police. We have ISIS, and this should be our next war why don’t you all that hate police fight ISIS!
Join the military be someone who serves this country, not one of you could never fight ISIS but guess, who will protect us from ISIS.
The Military and Police, maybe I should stop working and giving to my kids and bills by start robbing, kidnapping remove my ankle GPS monitor. The GPS monitor means several things one, your restricted from being somewhere and two, there is danger. You don’t get Ankle Monitors because of your race, or being a good daddy. Stop, your racism against police or anyone WHITE is getting really old.
Our well, earned tax paying dollars are being thrown away by prison(s) or paying out a criminals family. Does crime pay? Well, it shouldn’t! What is truly an inspiration is that the officer involved saved more lives of the Aurora shooting, then killing just one. How many black races did this officer pull out of this theater shooting, leaving none behind because there were black or unarmed. They didn’t know who was the shooter was they just helped bloody bodies get to hospitals.
Come on….Aurora City residence don’t let our city become another Ferguson.
This time, we will not tolerate this because the poor bad guy did choose his own fate, that day and his life choices were escalating with his actions not the police. The State called on the police, the State. It was a dangerous person on the run, not a black unarmed man but a dangerous one. You can’t sue, a State and good luck if you try. He lost his rights, the first time that he broke the law and it sounds to me, that these were some serious charges. My civil rights Opinion …. is might gave known it was prison time for him and it was su.y co

indiana
indiana
6 years ago
Reply to  Jojo know

Liberals and media don’t care about facts…they only care to scream racism where none exist.

Jojo know
Jojo know
6 years ago

Stop blaming the police for your actions, the guy knew it was prison time. GPS monitor’s are for criminals, and those that can’t be somewhere or their are dangerous.
He lost his rights being a career criminal. The officer saved more lives then taking one.
The police are not a WAR because of a race or what type of crime, and thank God that this man didn’t have a gun no telling what he was capable of doing with a gun.
I support the police on this one for sure.

gofastgo
gofastgo
6 years ago
Reply to  Jojo know

‘ankle monitoring bracelets’ are a vision of coddling by liberals, these people should be in prison, period.

Jojo know
Jojo know
6 years ago
Reply to  gofastgo

OKAY, …..
LOOKS LIKE TUESDAY, AT THE AMC ON THE 17TH, OF MARCH.
GOT GOOD PEOPLE SHOWING UP???
PLEASE PUT THE WORD OUT!

Ashley In Aurora
Ashley In Aurora
6 years ago
Reply to  Jojo know

I hope people turn up and support this effort Jojo!
Let’s see if the media shows up for this as fast as they do for another “don’t shoot hands up” protest.

Porscha Dennis
Porscha Dennis
6 years ago
Reply to  Jojo know

Question because this officer also saved lives is that justification for taking a life? No it is not yay kudos for saving lives but the life he took rather he was a black man, white man, or purple man was a life that was not his to take.

Brian V. Sitterley
Brian V. Sitterley
6 years ago

Given Vinzant’s criminal background, the chances of getting a grand jury to indict anyone are pretty slim. The protesters are wasting their time over this thug. Let’s keep a close eye on how well Metz handles this case. We can decide whether the city council used good judgement in hiring him, nor not.

gofastgo
gofastgo
6 years ago

The officer is a good man, on scene at the theater shootings, saving lives, can you tell me what this piece of human garbage has done for mankind?

Brian V. Sitterley
Brian V. Sitterley
6 years ago
Reply to  gofastgo

If you are referring to Vinzant, his demise makes the world a better place. If you are referring to Metz, I saw nothing particularly meritorious about him reported in our local news to justify hiring him, but perhaps the city council got more information than we did.

gofastgo
gofastgo
6 years ago

I was relating to the officer who shot him.

Brian V. Sitterley
Brian V. Sitterley
6 years ago
Reply to  gofastgo

I was referring to the human garbage reference.

gofastgo
gofastgo
6 years ago

Got it. I don’t have enough information on Metz to make an assessment.

Jojo know
Jojo know
6 years ago

Yes, bring bull horn.
The officer was a person who saved lives at the Aurora Theater Shooting.

Victim families, please respond soon this is Friday. Thanks.
Support our policeman against criminals not race.

gofastgo
gofastgo
6 years ago

What is wrong with this society? Protest after protest, and why, because some scofflaw was shot by the authorities, the police.

The latest bum had a 20 years arrest record, was wanted for robbery, kidnapping, and cutting off his monitoring ankle bracelet (he should have been in prison, but the bleeding-heart liberals want to coddle convicts, read about ‘lethal injection’ and the resulting ‘cruel and unusual’ deaths, rope never had that problem) and when the 10 or so policeman caught up to him, he resisted and was shot, end of story. But no, now we have folks who have no idea of just what this person was wanted for, just that he was shot. People, we live in an society of LAW, and LAWS, there are to be followed, by ALL, and these ‘protesters’ don’t have a clue of what or who they are protesting. I would immediately NOT answer calls to their neighborhoods, and allow them to deal with these scum on their own, protest that idiots.

Celtic Girl
Celtic Girl
6 years ago

My frustration is with those who want instant gratification relating to the investigation regardless of it being a complete and factual investigation.
This is NOT a TV show where everything is wrapped up in an hour….
Rumors, speculation and lack of understating/tolerance of an investigation being done in a thorough, complete manner is what causes the anger and frustration. Fueled by those whose only purpose appears to agitate cause problems with unreasonable demands (in my opinion) are the problem not the police.

gofastgo
gofastgo
6 years ago
Reply to  Celtic Girl

‘they’ want ‘their’ justice, the only justice they can cope with. The white police officer who shot the thug in Mo. was vindicated by a grand jury, that didn’t satisfy ‘them’, it wasn’t the outcome they perceive as correct, so they burn and loot, what people, and for this I’m supposed to feel sorry for them? I don’t.

Jojo know
Jojo know
6 years ago
Reply to  gofastgo

Well, said.

gofastgo
gofastgo
6 years ago

I listened to the guy in the middle of the picture that accompanies this story, what he said is ridiculous and unthinkingly ignorant. We have ‘laws’, the majority of us who live in the USA follow those rules, others are criminals or scofflaws. What is starting to concern me about blacks is that they feel laws are made for others, and when someone, the police in this case, expects them to follow those same laws, they think it racist. I think the time has come for the black race to become accountable and responsible, not demanding and entitled.

Jojo know
Jojo know
6 years ago

Anyone supporting our APD police officer’s show up at location in front of AMC, and bring your support for our Men & Women of APD.
STOP BREAKING THE LAW PEOPLE!

PERMITTING RAIN, SEE YOU AT 5:00 pm., families or victims of the tragic theater shooting, we would be honored on behalf of Officer Jerothe, and his responding services of that night.

Thank you.

gofastgo
gofastgo
6 years ago
Reply to  Jojo know

A good idea. For myself, I suppose my support is not in gatherings, although I support those gatherings, do well Jojo.

Jojo know
Jojo know
6 years ago

Officer Jerothe, saved more lives then taking one.

Unfortunately, Vinzant chose his own fate not the police. It was prison or being taken out suicide by cop????

Freedom of speech, I have my rights toooo!!!

Jojo know
Jojo know
6 years ago
Reply to  Jojo know

Hello, thanks for the response we’re going to cancel Friday and we will repeat on Monday, at the AMC in front at 5 pm., stay on touch with me.
THANKS FOR THE SUPPORT

Jojo know
Jojo know
6 years ago

Hello, thanks for the great response, I checked my other email and it looks like Monday is going to work for a lot of people so I will see you all on Monday at the AMC building in front thank you means a lot we need to support our police officers. We are not a bank to pay out criminals or their families.
True,, enough is enough!!!
Same Time
Thank you

ezaspie
ezaspie
6 years ago

Well I suppose the one good thing that comes from this incident, is to know that racism is alive and well. Even when the police force makes strides for racial equality in enforcement and a promise of transparency and thorough investigations. It’s people give a gentle reminder that racism is not going away anytime soon. Thanks aurora!

Jojo know
Jojo know
6 years ago

What part does anyone not …understand?

indiana
indiana
6 years ago

Take a good look at a racist media and trouble makers…..all ready to scream racism and police wrong doing all before any facts are released….this is the problem….racist trouble makers and media AND as we have seen with these other cases they were wrong every time.

Joe Hardhat
Joe Hardhat
6 years ago

Hands Up Don’t Shoot

Brian V. Sitterley
Brian V. Sitterley
6 years ago
Reply to  Joe Hardhat

I saw a guy with his hands up kneeling on I-225 northbound last October. Lots of cops had their guns trained on him, and traffic northbound was stopped. Dude lived. Didn’t even make the Aurora Sentinel. Hands up and compliant really work in your favor. Not committing crimes in the first place even more so.

Joe Hardhat
Joe Hardhat
6 years ago

This guy’s family is probably fighting over who gets what in the impending wrongful death lawsuit. Indeed, the huge payoffs approved by the Denver city council from alleged and actual misdeeds of the Denver police and sheriff departments have emboldened folks and their lawyers to pursue lawsuits over every perceived misdeed .. the new gold rush in Colorado!!

Porscha Dennis
Porscha Dennis
6 years ago
Reply to  Joe Hardhat

As a member of the mans family who was shoot, we are mourning the lost if our family member not fighting over some stupid settlement. What would you be doing if you lost a family member?