AURORA | An Aurora police sergeant has been placed on administrative leave following a June traffic stop in which he repeatedly swore at a teenage girl whom he had detained on suspicion of driving over the speed limit.
An internal affairs investigation has been initiated into Sgt. Ed Acuti, who repeatedly swore at a 17-year-old girl who was crying and pleading for her mother while handcuffed, according to body-worn camera footage released Wednesday. The girl, whose identity was not released, also swore back at Acuti and screamed repeatedly at other officers who were restraining her.
The investigation, which formally alleges Acuti engaged in unprofessional behavior by a supervisor during a traffic stop, was started after another officer reported their concerns to superiors, police said.
The incident began at about 8:30 p.m. June 29 near the intersection of Airport Boulevard and East Second Avenue, where officers from the department’s gang unit stopped the girl’s red sedan on suspicion of speeding. The car belonged to the girl’s mother, according to Francisco Saucedo, spokesperson for the Aurora Police Department.
While officers were questioning a male passenger in the stopped car, he sprinted away and ditched a stolen and loaded handgun on the ground. Acuti appeared to trip on a curb where the male jettisoned the weapon, according to his body-worn camera footage.
As Acuti returned to the girl’s stopped car and began to enter the weapon into evidence, he got into a heated exchange with the teenager, who remained at the scene and repeatedly screamed for help while handcuffed.
“This is what ya’ll do, this what ya’ll do — ya’ll kill people,” the girl screamed. “Call my mom.”
The girl then apologized, saying that she was worried about an injury her infant son had recently sustained.
“You’re old enough to drive a car without a license, you’re old enough to have son — act it,” Acuti can be heard telling the girl, moments after they both yelled “f*** you” at one another.
“You think I’m out here playing f***ing games? You’re out of your f***ing mind,” Acuti continued, while putting the recovered handgun into an evidence envelope.
“… Are we f***ing clear? You better keep your f***ing mouth shut. I’ll make your life a living f***ing hell from this f***ing day forward,” he said, rapping the tailgate of the girl’s sedan. “You wanted it, you f***ing earned it. I don’t care how the f*** old you are. Let that f***ing sink in.”
The girl involved in the verbal interaction with Acuti was later booked into the municipal jail on charges of speeding, driving without a license and obstructing a peace officer, authorities said. She was released from custody later that evening.
Police provided no updates on whether the male who sprinted away from officers was ever identified or apprehended.
In a statement, Police Chief Vanessa Wilson lauded the officer who brought the interaction to the attention of her office.
“In every interaction, we must strive to treat individuals with respect and remain professional,” she said. “I commend the officers that are unwilling to compromise their integrity and continue to report misconduct that jeopardizes the work we, as an agency, are trying to accomplish with our community.”
Officials have not specified when the results of the internal probe into Acuti’s actions may be released.
Acuti has been with Aurora police since 2005, according to Saucedo.
The incident marks the latest instance of unwelcome limelight for the local department, following a report released by the attorney general’s office last month that claimed the department has for years engaged in racially biased policing and the recent indictment of the three officers who detained Elijah McClain before he died in August 2019.