Woman in controversial arrest behind Fort Collins church dies

Local News

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (KDVR) — The woman involved in a controversial arrest behind a Fort Collins church died just days before police released body camera video of her arrest.

Back in August, the woman was suffering a mental episode behind the Mennonite Fellowship of Fort Collins. Church members and medics tried to help, but an officer ultimately responded and threw the woman to the ground, prompting a complaint by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Last weekend, a driver in a vehicle crashed into the woman, and she later died from her injuries.

“Events like this show us that our time with people, sometimes, is very short,” said Pastor Steve Ramer of the Mennonite Fellowship of Fort Collins, where the woman was arrested.

Ramer added that her loss was made more tragic by the attempt his church made to help her.

Former cop reviews body camera video

Fort Collins Police Services on Friday released body camera video from the incident that, so far, had been witnessed through non-police surveillance video.

Fort Collins Police Chief Jeff Swoboda said the video shows the arrest from their perspective.

“We welcome the discussion around how our officers respond, what are they responding for and how are we a part of the conversations that are going on that are so complex,” Swoboda said.

A police expert reviewed the video with FOX31 and commented on the officer’s tactics.

“They tend to self-medicate and in doing so it does create some instability in their behaviors,” former law enforcement officer and private investigator James Allbee said.

Allbee said that people in an unsettled mental state can be a danger to themselves and others, so it isn’t unheard of to try to control them.

The armbar maneuver that the officer used to take the woman down is a common move for officers, Allbee said.

“It looks aggressive and depending on how much force is actually used in that, it can spin you around and take you down pretty quickly,” Allbee said.

“It was not overly excessive and it wasn’t done out of anger or anything, it was just enough force to get her down on the ground,” Allbee said.

Fort Collins Police said any incident involving a use of force will involve a review by a supervisor.

When the ACLU is involved, it means an automatic review by the department’s internal affairs, which they said is ongoing.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Most Read

Top Stories