Fort Collins police officer resigns before investigation into use of excessive force wraps up

Posted at 12:02 PM, Sep 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-21 14:02:19-04

FORT COLLINS, Colo. – A Fort Collins Police Services officer resigned Tuesday as an investigation into his of force on a shoplifting suspect raised some concerns within the department.

The investigation into the officer’s actions followed the arrest of a shoplifting suspect who was reportedly fighting with staff at the Target store located at 105 W. Troutman Parkway on March 29, 2018.

It took two officers and the use of a Taser to apprehend the woman.

But video of the arrest, which was released by Fort Collins Police Services on Thursday, shows the first responding officer striking the woman dozens of times before another officer comes in to help apprehend the suspect by using a Taser to subdue her.

In the video, the officers are heard yelling at the woman to stop resisting and to get one of her arms out so she can be handcuffed. The woman is heard telling the officers she’s trying to do it and after several warnings, the officers use the Taser on her three times. The video shows that the woman’s arm was visible by the time the officer used the Taser the third time.

You can watch the full video below:

Police said in a statement a security guard was injured by the woman prior to her arrest, adding the suspect was taken to an area hospital for evaluation and later booked into the Larimer County Jail later that day on charges of theft, third-degree assault, resisting arrest, and obstruction of a police officer.

Following the arrest and after an internal review of the body camera footage, the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office was asked to step in to independently investigate the use of force and determine if any laws were violated during the arrest.

The District Attorney’s Office determined that the officer did not violate any criminal laws.

Prior to the final internal hearing in the case, the officer submitted his letter of resignation.

“Just because there wasn’t violation of law doesn’t mean there weren’t concerns within this police department regarding the force that was used and whether or not it was appropriate and in line with our training,” said Fort Collins Police Services Chief Jeffrey Swoboda in a video statement also released Thursday.

He continued, “I want to make sure Fort Collins citizens know that we have high standards here at the Fort Collins Police Services. And if we ever find that we do not rise to the level of the expectations of not only ourselves but of this community, we will hold ourselves accountable as we have in this case.”

Police said the shoplifting suspect recently pled guilty to third-degree assault and resisting arrest.