Colorado Police Officer Under Investigation For Use of Force After Shoplifting Arrest

Colorado – Concerns about a Fort Collins police’s officer’s use of force during a shoplifting arrest have spurred investigations into the incident.

The officer, whom agency officials declined to identify Friday, was driving home from a shift March 29 when he heard a call for service at the Target at 105 W. Troutman Parkway, according to a news release from Fort Collins Police Services.

He was the first officer to arrive on scene. When he arrived, a woman suspected of shoplifting was fighting with staff in the store’s loss prevention office area, according to police. The officer tried for six minutes to arrest her, despite verbal and physical resistance.

A second officer arrived on scene, and the pair used “less-lethal tools” to take the woman into custody after an additional two minutes of effort. Officers used a taser and pepper spray, according to arrest documents

The suspect was injured, police said, but it’s unclear how. Police said the suspect also injured a Target employee.

Details about the nature of the injuries suffered were not made public, but police said the suspect was transported to an area hospital for an evaluation after the incident.

She was booked into the Larimer County Jail later that day on suspicion of theft, third-degree assault, resisting arrest and obstruction of a police officer.

The unidentified officer is facing both internal and Larimer County Sheriff’s Office investigations into his or her use of force. The officer has been placed on administrative leave pending the results of those investigation, police announced Friday.

While police have not named the suspect or the officer under review, county jail booking documents show 29-year-old Natasha Patnode was arrested March 29 at Target on suspicion of charges matching those in this incident.

Jail booking documentation for Patnode identify the arresting officer as Justin Burch, but police said he is not the officer being investigated.

Loss prevention staff reported recovering $419 worth of merchandise from Patnode.

Interim Police Chief Terry Jones initiated the investigation based on internal concerns about use of force, according to the news release.

The officer under investigation was not wearing a body camera, but the second officer to arrive was. That camera captured only part of the incident, but store surveillance footage captured the entire interaction.

Jones contacted both the Larimer County District Attorney’s Office and the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office, according to the release. The sheriff’s office will review the arrest to determine if criminal charges are warranted. Fort Collins police will also conduct an internal administrative investigation, the results of which will be forwarded to the city’s Citizen Review Board.

Fort Collins Police Services recently concluded another review involving use of force from an Oct. 6, 2017 incident.

Officer Stephen Sparacio was off duty when a woman was arrested after he pinned her to the ground near her apartment complex, and a bystander caught part of the interaction on video.

Both an internal review and a Citizen Review Board review determined that Sparacio violated department policies in the incident. The reviews did not agree whether Sparacio used unnecessary force. Kimberly Chancellor, the woman who was arrested, pleaded guilty to a careless driving charge, while a charge of obstructing a peace officer was dropped.

In another incident in April 2017, a Fort Collins police officer was investigated for his use of force, though he was cleared of wrongdoing. Officer Randy Klamser was placed on leave after a nine-second video went viral online that showed him throwing 22-year-old Michaella Surat to the ground in Old Town. He returned to duty June 1, 2017, after a month and a half on administrative leave.

Surat, who faces charges of resisting arrest and obstructing a peace officer, is set to have a trial that begins April 30, after an earlier trial ended in a mistrial being declared in January.


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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5618 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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