Fort Collins Settles in Police Brutality Case from 2018 Target Shoplifting Incident
The City of Fort Collins has settled in a police brutality case for the second time in a month.
According to The Coloradoan, the city reached a $325,000 settlement with Natasha Patnode regarding her arrest for suspicion of shoplifting at Target in 2018.
The incident occurred on March 29 of that year, when former Fort Collins Police Services (FCPS) officer Todd Hopkins responded to a shoplifting call from Target (105 W. Troutman Parkway).
He had just gotten off of a shift, so he was not wearing a body camera. Upon arrival, he witnessed Patnode fighting with staff.
Surveillance footage then shows Hopkins taking Patnode to the ground and sitting on her while attempting to handcuff her.
He is also seen using pepper spray, and repeatedly hitting her with his fist and baton. The Coloradoan reports that Hopkins struck Patnode at least 50 times.
Throughout the incident, Patnode's hand is inside of her purse, leaving Hopkins unsure as to whether or not she has a weapon.
After she was finally arrested, police took her to the hospital for evaluation.
She was released that day and booked into the Larimer County Jail for suspicion of theft, third-degree assault, resisting arrest, and obstruction of a police officer.
The Larimer County Sheriff's Office launched an investigation of the incident and sent it to Larimer County District Attorney Cliff Reidel, who determined that Hopkins' actions were justified and declined to file charges.
"While disturbing to watch, it should be noted that Ms. Patnode repeatedly ignored commands, refused to remove her hand from underneath her, and refused to surrender the purse, which was also underneath her," Riedel said in a letter clearing Hopkins. "Those actions by Ms. Patnode only reinforced Officer Hopkins' concerns that the suspect may have a weapon of some type in her purse."
FCPS conducted an internal investigation into the case, and decided that Hopkins should be fired for his actions. He then resigned.
Patnode pleaded guilty to third-degree assault and resisting arrest, but her shoplifting charge was dropped.
She had planned to sue the city until the settlement was reached on February 13.