Aurora’s former police chief used her position of power to have her partner’s ex-girlfriend arrested two years ago on charges that ultimately were dismissed, a federal lawsuit alleges.
Kristin Nichols, in a complaint filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court for Colorado, says Aurora’s then-Chief Vanessa Wilson “bragged about getting her current girlfriend’s ex arrested to other officers” after Nichols was taken into custody in August 2021.
The 85-page lawsuit — which also names an Aurora police detective, the city of Aurora and various Adams County officials — details a messy relationship rife with allegations of domestic abuse and child custody battles between Nichols and her ex-girlfriend, Robin Niceta.
In one incident two years ago, Niceta was hospitalized after being hit in the head by an intruder. Officers at the hospital called Wilson, who was dating Niceta at the time, the lawsuit alleges. Aurora’s police chief then called an Adams County assistant district attorney, Nichols contends.
“She used her position as police chief of APD to influence the assistant district attorney to expedite the arrest of Nichols,” the complaint alleges.
Wilson’s attorney did not immediately respond to requests for comment. An Aurora police spokesman said the department can’t comment on pending litigation. Niceta did not return messages left Thursday evening.
Nichols says she was charged with domestic violence-criminal attempt, second-degree assault, second-degree burglary and criminal mischief based on Niceta claiming she recognized Nichols’ voice in her house that day and testimony from Nichols’ 5-year-old daughter.
The complaint alleges that an Aurora police detective, Nathaniel Moss, did not inform the court in Nichols’ arrest affidavit that the child who gave him the information was 5. Police also allegedly listed Wilson as a witness because she spoke with Niceta after the alleged assault, the complaint states, but did not indicate Wilson was the chief of police.
The Denver Post could not review the information contained in the 2021 arrest affidavit because it is now sealed, according to Aurora police.
All charges against Nichols were dropped in June 2022, according to the lawsuit.
Nichols also alleged in the complaint that a caseworker with the Arapahoe County Department of Human Services did not report a Christmas 2021 domestic violence incident involving Niceta and Wilson in which Wilson was alleged to have been the perpetrator, according to the lawsuit.
Adams County Family Services received a referral about the incident from the FBI in May 2022, but allegedly closed the case because Wilson and Niceta no longer lived together, the lawsuit states.
The police chief’s job, Nichols’ alleged, led investigators to treat Wilson differently than her in similar domestic violence cases.
The federal lawsuit comes just days after an Arapahoe County judge ordered Niceta to pay an Aurora city councilwoman $3 million in damages after making an unfounded child sexual abuse report. Danielle Jurinsky sued Niceta, saying the report was retaliation for the councilwoman criticizing Wilson on a talk-radio show.
Niceta, a former Arapahoe County caseworker, also faces criminal charges stemming from those allegations. Niceta pleaded not guilty last month and is set to stand trial in May.
Aurora’s city manager fired Wilson in April 2022, saying he had concerns about her leadership and that the department needed “refocused attention.”
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