Business

Sarah Schielke’s Relentless Pursuit of Justice Leads to $400K Settlement in Wrongful DUI Arrest Case.

Sarah Schielke, a Colorado-based attorney known for her tenacity in civil rights cases, has again proven her dedication to holding law enforcement accountable for their actions. In a recent case, Schielke represented Harris Elias, a contractor and father of three, who was wrongfully arrested on a DUI charge in 2020 by the Loveland Police Department (LPD) despite blowing zeros on a breathalyzer test and having a blood test come back negative for drugs.

Schielke’s lawsuit against the City of Loveland, Officer William Gates, and Sgt. Antolina Hill alleged that then-Loveland Police Chief Bob Ticer fostered a competitive culture within the department, encouraging officers to make DUI arrests in exchange for bragging rights, funding, and equipment, even when the driver was not under the influence. This toxic culture led to a disregard for driver innocence, with Officer Gates being one of the most prolific DUI arrest cops in the LPD and the state.

Through her diligent work and records requests, Schielke uncovered evidence of at least a dozen other victims who had experienced similar wrongful DUI arrests by LPD officers. The department’s chain of command defended these arrests, claiming that their officers were identifying impairment that “lab testing couldn’t.”

The City of Loveland ultimately agreed to settle the case for $400,000, marking one of the most significant non-confidential monetary payments in Colorado history for a civil rights lawsuit involving a wrongful DUI arrest without physical injuries or jail time. The settlement, along with Officer Gates’s and former Chief Ticer’s departure from the LPD, sends a powerful message about the importance of accountability in policing.

Schielke’s unwavering commitment to justice has resulted in significant settlements for her clients and shed light on the need for systemic change within law enforcement agencies. Despite women’s challenges, her ability to adapt and pave her way in the legal field is a testament to her strength and determination.

As Schielke continues to fight for the rights of those wronged by police misconduct, her impact on the legal landscape in Colorado and beyond is undeniable. Her courage and dedication to leaving the world a better place than she found to serve as an inspiration to aspiring civil rights attorneys and all those who believe in the power of justice.

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