July 14, 2017
Fort Collins police officer Aaron Westby is back "protecting" the streets of Fort Collins Colorado after three months of paid leave following an internal investigation of his false arrest of a teacher last July; an internal investigation has astoundingly led to no charges, despite the city paying out 150k for his blatant illegal misconduct, on July 17, 2016 when dispatched to handle a noise complaint.
An audio captured the incident, which clearly indicates Officer Westby violated the civil rights of Chicago teacher, J. Heneghan, when he illegally entered the home of the man, pepper sprayed him, and then brutally arrested him; erroneously charging him with obstruction of justice and resisting arrest. The full audio of the incident can be listened to here:
Westby was called to the scene due to a neighbor complaining of loud music. When he arrived, Office Westby inexplicably brought his ride-along passenger to the door with him. Heneghan answered, while his roommate turned down the loud music. Yet despite the music being immediately turned off, Westby demanded id from Heneghan; and he also demanded that Heneghan step outside of his home. When Heneghan refused, Westby attempted to rip Heneghan out of his home, then proceeded to illegally enter the home, violating his civil rights. When Heneghan continued to insist he would stay in the safety of his own domicile, Westby pepper sprayed him in the face, nose, ear and throat, before tackling him to the ground. He then invited his ride-along passenger into the home to help pin and handcuff Heneghan.
When his backup arrived to the scene, Westby is caught on tape telling the officer to turn off his body camera so he can reconstruct the chain of events with impunity.
Fortuitously, Heneghan and his roommate had been recording music when Officer Aaron Westby came to the door; the entire incident is documented via audio recording, clearly accounting for Westby’s use of excessive force, including sexual misconduct, when Westby aggressively rubs his genitals in the victim’s face, while he is pinned to the ground. The audio also indicates that Westby refused to reveal his name to Heneghan, or explain why he felt it necessary to illegally enter, pepper spray, and brutalize Heneghan at any time during the encounter. It takes Westby only 22 seconds to illegally enter.
The city clearly knew the actions of Officer Westby were illegal and egregious when they dismissed all charges against Heneghan and agreed to settle civilly out of court. However, Fort Collins interim police chief Terry Jones has deemed Westby to not have used excessive force, despite overt evidence to the contrary. And after a three month paid leave, Officer Aaron Westby is back on the streets, continuing to take the law into his own hands, without consequence.
Heneghan was interviewed by Fox News Denver, The Denver Post, as well as ABC news. He made it clear that not only were the actions of Officer Westby illegal, but his suffering nearly three days in a solitary cell, with the lights on 24/7, was tantamount to cruel and unusual punishment. He was denied bedding and socks for hours and was grilled by guards about his religious affiliations. When he refused to speak to them without a lawyer, he was deemed uncooperative and denied incoming calls from his one contact in Colorado, which ultimately led to his staying there almost a day more than he otherwise would have.
When asked for clarification on Westby returning to his post as a Fort Collins police officer despite the obvious criminality caught on the recording, spokesperson Kate Kimble refused to divulge any further information, deeming it an internal personnel matter.
The victim of illegal incarceration and police brutality, J. Heneghan, has reacted to Westby’s dubious exoneration calling it “a tragedy and further example of police corruption, cronyism, and how those in power will continue to abuse it when there are no real consequence for their misconduct. Westby should be tried for assault, obstruction, and sexual misconduct. He is the one that belongs in jail.”
Heneghan has tried his best to move beyond the police abuse by turning the incident into teachable moment for his students. And he has produced a puppeted reenactment of the incident, using the actual audio(below), atop writing a song detailing the occurrence as well(also below). He went on to say, “it is just a matter of time before Westby breaks the law again; and when he does, his unlawfulness will be harder to frame as an anomaly given what he did to me in July of 2016.”