FCPS officer resigns after investigation of Target shoplifting arrest

Julia Trowbridge

A Fort Collins police officer resigned following an investigation into his use of force during an arrest at Target last spring. 

The internal investigation ended Sept. 20, according to a press release from Fort Collins Police Services. Body camera footage was released at this time, as the trial of the suspect has been completed.

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The district attorney’s office determined that the officer involved did not violate any criminal laws, but he submitted a letter of resignation before the initial hearing due to a recommendation for his firing. 

In the release, Chief Jeff Swoboda said FCPS employees are held to a higher expectation, and when an employee operates outside the scope of expectations, they are held accountable.

“We have high expectations for our employees,” said Chief Jeff Swoboda. “This is reflected in our training, policies, and culture. When an employee operates outside the scope of our expectations, we hold them accountable.”

The FCPS police officer in question heard a dispatch call that a shoplifting suspect was fighting with staff at a Target located at 105 W. Troutman Pkwy March 29, 2018.

The police officer, who was the first law enforcement officer on the scene, attempted to take the adult female suspect into custody for six minutes, while she verbally and physically resisted. A second officer arrived, and after two more minutes, the suspect was taken into custody.

While trying to take the suspect into custody, the officers used several “less-lethal tools,” according to the release.

The first officer was not wearing a body camera during the incident since his shift was over, but the last two minutes were recorded by the second officer’s body camera. Surveillance footage from the store also captured the interaction.

A retail loss prevention employee was injured by the suspect, and the suspect sustained injuries from the incident as well.

The suspect was booked into the Larimer County Jail later that day on charges of theft, third-degree assault, resisting arrest and obstruction of a police officer, according to the report.

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The suspect recently pled guilty to third-degree assault and resisting arrest.

 

Julia Trowbridge can be reached at news@collegian.com or on twitter @chapin_jules.