A man is suing the Loveland Police Department after he says officers fᴏгᴄᴇfᴜʟʟʏ and wrongfully arrested him when he refused to answer questions as a witness about a motorcycle crash last fall.
Sowl’s arrest was captured on body camera footage. His attorney, Sarah Schielke, said he and his wife were leaving Charlie L’s pub that afternoon when they saw a motorcyclist laying under a fallen motorcycle. The crash was blocking the parking lot exit. Sowl and other bystanders went to help the motorcyclist, and another bystander lifted the bike off the man, who was bleeding and visibly injured.
Body camera footage of Sowl’s arrest shows Loveland police officer Paul Ashe attempting to question Sowl about the crash after Sowl tells him where the injured man’s motorcycle was moved.“I don’t know what happened,” Sowl said. “I’m not talking to nobody.”
More:Timnath reaches $250,000 settlement in police brutality lawsuit filed by ex-Windsor mayor
The encounter quickly escalated, with Ashe telling Sowl that he had to talk to him and threatening to arrest him for obstruction. Sowl repeatedly refused, which was within his constitutional rights, his lawyers argued in the lawsuit“It is long-established that a citizen cannot be charged with obstruction (or any crime) for merely refusing to answer police questioning,” Schielke wrote.
Ashe and other officers then arrested Sowl, twisting his arms behind his back to cuff him after he wouldn’t put his hands behind his back. The footage shows Sowl yelling and cursing in protest during a struggle, and the camera’s view is obscured for about 20 seconds. When the visual footage returns, Sowl is face down on the ground with his hands cuffed behind his back. As officers lift him from the ground, he yells in pain and says his shoulder is “f—-ed up.”Ashe cited Sowl for obstruction of a peace officer and resisting arrest, but the Larimer County District Attorney’s Office dismissed the charges, according to the lawsuit. There is no record of the charges in public court documents.
According to Sowl’s lawsuit, his shoulder was dislocated during the arrest, and he suffered bleeding cuts on his head, knees, legs, arms and wrist. He also retore the rotator cuff he’d recently had repaired through surgery. He later had his shoulder replaced, which Schielke said was a result of injuries from the arrest. The Coloradoan reviewed redacted medical records verifying his surgery.
In a news release about the lawsuit, Schielke wrote that Sowl is a 60-year-old man on disability.
“He was tired,” Schielke wrote. “He had just spent 8 hours that very day driving home from a cross-country trip. He didn’t have any information about the motorcyclist’s predicament. He didn’t want to be questioned. He wanted to be left alone.”
Loveland police referred questions to city spokesperson Tom Hacker, who declined to comment, citing pending litigation. The city has not yet filed a response to the lawsuit with the court.
Sowl is suing the city of Loveland and the officers involved in the incident: Officers Ashe and Benjamin Delima, Detective Clint Schnorr, and Sgt. Brian Bartnes.
No officers or staff were disciplined as a result of the incident, according to Sowl’s lawsuit.The Coloradoan has requested internal affairs documents of the case from Loveland police.
Ashe was involved in two Loveland Police Department ѕһᴏᴏтɪпɡѕ in 2019: The fɑтɑʟ police ѕһᴏᴏтɪпɡ of Tammy Pierce, who exchanged fire with multiple officers, and the nonfatal shooting of Gavin Gamez, who survived a ɡᴜпѕһᴏт wound to his upper right chest. The Larimer County District Attorney’s office cleared Ashe of criminal wrongdoing in both ѕһᴏᴏтɪпɡѕ.
Watch the video below: