LOVELAND, Colo. — The City of Loveland announced Wednesday the independent review of the 2020 arrest of a 14-year-old girl and tasing of her father after a lawsuit was filed against three Loveland Police Department (LPD) officers.
According to the lawsuit, officers initially got involved after the then 14-year-old girl slapped her 18-year-old boyfriend over alleged infidelity in a Safeway parking lot on June 20, 2020.
The incident was reported to police by a caller who witnessed the slap, the lawsuit says. The 18-year-old told officers that the slap "stung" but he declined to press charges, according to body camera video.
"Alright, then I think I'll just pass if I have to go through a whole packet," the 18-year-old is heard saying in the video.
However, officers had the 18-year-old fill out a witness statement form describing the slap, and in the form, he marked "no" next to the statement, "The actions of the suspect caused me physical pain," according to the lawsuit. He then declined to press charges a second time when asked, the lawsuit says.
Editor's Note: This story contains images, video and profanity that some readers may find to be disturbing.
LPD officers went to the girl's home for what the city said was a "statutorily-mandated arrest under Colorado law." The girl and her father, Jon Siers, were not home, so officers left and returned later in the day, according to the lawsuit.
After Siers returned home from work and noticed many missed calls and voicemails from LPD, he called officers and informed them he and his daughter were back at the home, the lawsuit says.
Officers returned to the home, spoke with Siers' daughter and moved to arrest her after she admitted to the slap, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit claims the officers did not obtain an arrest warrant for Siers' daughter before moving to arrest her.
At that point, body camera video shows Siers getting upset and telling officers they "could not arrest a 14-year-old."
Siers then moves forward and tells the officers "let me get my dog," the video shows. According to the lawsuit, Siers' had two dogs, a Jack Russell Terrier and a Chihuahua, attached to long leashes outside his home.
The officer responds, "No, you are not going to walk over there," while pushing Siers back.
"He's gonna start biting everybody," Siers said in the video while moving toward one of the dogs, followed by the officer pushing Siers again and ordering him to get on the ground.
"I'm not resisting," Siers is then heard saying in the video while taking few steps away from the officer, followed by another order from the officer to get on the ground.
Siers then says, "What are you doing?" while moving forward, and at that point, he is tased by the officer, the video shows.
The officer then tells Siers to stay on the ground and roll over onto his stomach or he would be tased again, the video shows.
"I was getting my dog," Siers responds in the video while rolling over. When ordered to not move by the officer, Siers said he would not.
The video then shows an officer carrying one of the dogs by the leash near the collar and releasing it into the home.
Siers suffered pain, trauma and wounds to his chest and stomach, the lawsuit says. He also suffered an injury to his shoulder when, the lawsuit claims, an officer deliberately stepped on him.
Body camera video also showed multiple officers wrestling with Siers' 14-year-old daughter before handcuffing her.
The lawsuit says the officer's efforts to restrain her caused her head to hit surrounding concrete and brick more than once. She suffered a concussion, cuts, scrapes, bruises and injuries to her wrists during the arrest, the lawsuit claims.
"I was angry, I was upset. They manhandled my daughter," said Jon Siers. "I didn't want it to escalate as far as it did but, unfortunately, it did."
Siers' daughter was arrested on charges including harassment, domestic violence, obstruction and resisting arrest, according to the lawsuit. Siers was charged with obstructing a police officer and resisting arrest, the lawsuit says.
Charges against both were eventually dismissed by the Larimer County District Attorney's Office, according to the lawsuit.
Two years later, Siers said the incident remains deeply traumatic for him and his daughter, and that his perception of LPD has been forever changed.
"They just can't go on doing what they're doing and handling situations like they do," said Siers.
The city said Jensen Hughes, a national law enforcement and public safety consulting firm, will conduct the review. The same firm also conducted the review of the arrest of then 73-year-old Karen Garner, a woman with dementia.
In the press release, the city said the officer's actions were reviewed at the time and determined to be "appropriate."
Loveland City Manager Steve Adams said the following in a statement:
“The incidents were initially reviewed and deemed appropriate at the time of the event, but the city is taking a second outside look at the incident in our efforts to ensure we are policing in a respectful and proper manner. As we move forward on our accountability efforts launched in 2021, best practices in law enforcement will be maintained and we are committed to accountability if those standards are not upheld.”
“I appreciate the difficult, challenging, and often dangerous roles that LPD officers undertake to keep our community safe and I want to express my gratitude to the men and women of LPD for taking on this important work and for continuing in our larger efforts to improve community policing to best serve our community,” said Adams.
Sarah Schielke, the attorney representing Siers, also released a statement:
"As a parent, watching this video made my stomach turn. Such senseless, needless violence inflicted upon a child. On the steps of her own home. Over a slap. Over nothing. Let there be no mistake: Loveland is not a safe place for children. Loveland is not a safe place for grandparents. Loveland is not a safe place for pets. The biggest threat to the safety of the Loveland community is - and continues to be - the Loveland Police Department itself. They treat people like animals. They treat animals like trash. They hurt families and destroy lives. And all along the way, they pat each other on the back and give themselves awards for it. They are the worst that policing has to offer. On behalf of the Siers family and the Loveland community, I am going to personally see to it that they are held accountable and forced to change. And that starts with getting rid of every supervisor at LPD who approved of the violence in this video."
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