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The man who body camera footage showed being strangled and beaten by police in Colorado last week said he feared for his life during the encounter.
“I’m just thankful I’m still here because I thought I was going to die and be another Elijah McClain or George Floyd and I’m just blessed to still be here,” Kyle Vinson told 9News in Colorado.
Aurora Police Officers John Haubert and Francine Martinez, both of whom are facing charges, were responding to a trespassing call on July 23 when they approached Vinson, officials said.
Vinson told CBS Denver that the officers approached him as he was leaving a Starbucks and told him to sit under a tree. He said he has been homeless for a few weeks and was in Aurora looking for a job.
The edited body camera footage released by police shows Haubert strangling Vinson until his voice becomes hoarse as he pleads with Haubert that he doesn’t have a warrant.
The footage also shows Haubert strike Vinson on the head several times with his gun and continually tell him, “if you move, I will shoot you.”
While the officers determined Vinson had a warrant out for his arrest, Chief Vanessa Wilson later said at a press conference that she thinks Vinson was unaware that police had an active warrant against him.
Haubert told another officer at the scene that he was going to shoot Vinson, but was unsure if his gun was loaded, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
Vinson told 9News that he was afraid Haubert would shoot him when the officer pushed his head to the ground and pointed a gun barrel at the back of his head.
“He didn’t just have it to the back of my head,” Vinson said. “He pushed it into the back of my head, so I was just waiting for the bullet to come out.”
Haubert was charged with assault, assault with a deadly weapon and strangulation, among other charges. Martinez was charged with failing to intervene. Haubert has since resigned while Martinez is on leave with pay, according to the Aurora Police Department.
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