Father Files Excessive Force Lawsuit Against Loveland PD

LOVELAND, Colo. (CBS4) — A father has filed a lawsuit against Loveland Police Department for using excessive force on his daughter, himself, and his dog. It all started after his 14-year-old daughter allegedly slapped the man she was dating. It happened on June 20, 2020.

(credit: Lakewood Police)

According to the lawsuit, the 14-year-old girl was arguing with her boyfriend, 18-year-old Elijah Hall, in a Safeway parking lot. She believed Hall had been cheating on her and demanded he return the property she left at his home.

Hall responded, saying they had never been in a relationship. The girl then slapped Hall, got on her bike and rode away.

According to the lawsuit, another party in the Safeway parking lot saw the fight and called Loveland Police. Officers reportedly asked Hall if he wanted to press charges, and he declined, twice.

The lawsuit states police attempted to contact the girl and her family but were initially unsuccessful. Later that day, Police came to the girl’s home again.

Body camera footage from a responding officer shows police meeting the girl’s father, Jon Siers, outside. At the time, he appeared to be working on a bike.

Video then shows the teenage girl exiting her home to speak with the officers and explain the situation between her and Hall.

After a few minutes, officers began to put handcuffs on the teen. That’s when her father interjected and walked toward his daughter and the officers.

During that time, video shows Siers attempting to restrain his dog that was tied up near the front door: “Let me get my dog. He’s going to start biting everybody.”

Body camera footage shows the officer attempting to keep the father from approaching the dog, telling Siers to “get on the ground” several times.

The teen’s father then moves a few feet away and is stunned by the officer.

While he’s being handcuffed, body camera footage shows another officer attempting to restrain the teen.

The lawsuit stated that the arrest caused her “numerous physical injuries, including cuts, scrapes, bruises and injuries to her wrists. She also hit her head and became concussed.”

During this time, another officer can be seen in the video trying to control the dog named Skippy.

According to the lawsuit, Officer Matt Sychla “marched up to Skippy, grabbed Skippy’s leash, ripped it up into the air so that Skippy was dangling several feet up in the air, hanging by his throat, and then, Sychla walked the dangling Skippy to the front door of the house to put him inside.”

The teen was charged with resisting arrest, harassment, domestic violence and obstruction. The Larimer County District Attorney’s Office dismissed the charges against Siers and his daughter.

The lawsuit says they have “suffered damages, humiliation, anxiety, grief, stress, trauma, and depression. They have lost and continue to lose sleep. They do not feel safe in their home in Loveland or driving anywhere in Loveland. When they see a Loveland Police vehicle their blood pressure goes up.” It goes on to say that the teen has suffered panic attacks and insomnia.

The lawsuit names three officers involved in their arrests: Officers Matt Sychla, Jeremiah Wood and Evan Dunlap.

It claims officers used excessive force, committed malicious prosecution, unreasonably seized and conducted a warrantless arrest on a juvenile.

The lawsuit states Loveland PD’s “handcuffing policy directs that juveniles age 14 and under should not be restrained unless he/she is suspected of a dangerous felony.”

City Manager Steve Adams says an independent review will be initiated of the Loveland Police Department. It will look at all police actions related to this incident. CBS4 reached out to Adams for comment. We will update this story when he responds.