Woman Sues Fort Collins Police Officer Over 2017 Arrest
A woman is suing a Fort Collins police officer and the city in regards to her 2017 arrest outside of her apartment, according to The Coloradoan.
Kimberly Chancellor, 27, filed the lawsuit on October 4 in District Court through her attorney David Lane, accusing the officer of using excessive force and a policy of inaction during her arrest.
Officer Stephen Sparacio was off-duty when he saw Chancellor's car speeding in traffic on October 6, 2017. He followed the car on his motorcycle until it parked near Colorado State University.
Chancellor reportedly attempted to flee the scene, leaving Sparacio to physically take her into custody. He cited her for careless driving and obstructing a police officer.
A bystander took a video of the incident, which shows the officer pinning a woman to the ground.
The Fort Collins Police Services (FCPS) and the Citizen Review Board both investigated the situation and determined that Sparacio violated policies during the arrest. However, the reviews disagreed on whether or not he used unnecessary force while detaining the woman.
The lawsuit asserts that Sparacio "used greater force than was reasonably necessary," and accused the FCPS of turning the other cheek when it comes to their officers using excessive force.
Chancellor alleges that she was trying to walk away from Sparacio because he "made her extremely nervous," and that she did not know he was a police officer.
She is seeking compensation, as well as damages, for physical injuries, emotional distress, loss of reputation, humiliation, loss of enjoyment in life, and other pain and suffering.
Lane cited six other cases, all alleging excessive force from a Fort Collins police officer, in the lawsuit. Lane is representing clients in two of those cases, one of which is Michaella Surat, the CSU student whose arrest went viral in 2018.
Sparacio claims that Chancellor was speeding and driving erratically, stating that he wanted to "contact the driver to ascertain if there was some sort of emergency," and educate her about the dangers of reckless driving.
Chancellor pleaded guilty to careless driving in February of 2018, and had her obstruction of the peace charge dropped.
Since the lawsuit is still active, the FCPS has refused to comment on the case specifically, but Police Chief Jeff Swoboda made a general statement, saying that "...when warranted, [officers] may use reasonable force in carrying out their duties."
He also noted that the FCPS "recognizes and respects the value of all human life and dignity without prejudice to anyone."