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ACLU and City of Longmont Reach Settlement
On May 10, 2017, the Longmont Police K-9 unit, at the request of the Longmont Housing Authority, searched tenant apartments located within The Suites Supportive Housing complex.
On June 6, 2017, the community of Longmont and the Longmont Department of Public Safety (LPDS) learned a second round of searches were planned for June 7, 2017. Upon learning of the pending searches, the Chief of Public Safety and Command Staff put a stop to any further participation by the K-9 unit and started gathering information about the prior searches on May 10th.
As a result, the City of Longmont requested an outside investigation, which was completed by the Weld County Sheriff’s Department. After reviewing the Weld County Investigation, it was determined that the procedures used to establish consent were not consistent with LDPS standards, and the Longmont Department of Public Safety initiated an internal investigation.
As the internal investigation progressed, the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado notified the City of Longmont they were representing several tenants and they were questioning the legality and use of the K-9’s, the circumstances of use and whether consent was obtained before entering the tenants’ apartments.
The Longmont Department of Public Safety reached out to the ACLU and the Plaintiffs of The Suites. As an organization, we wanted to open a dialogue so we could address their concerns about the K- 9 searches, repair the harm, build trust, begin the healing process and make sure we addressed the tenants’ claims and concerns.
On November 8, 2017, after negotiations with the ACLU and four tenants of The Suites, the City of Longmont agreed to pay the ACLU and tenants $210,000 to settle their monetary claims. The City has also agreed, at the conclusion of an internal investigation, to share the Weld County Sheriff’sinvestigation report, participate in a public forum with the ACLU and the plaintiffs and to participate in a restorative process if desired. In addition, we issue the following statement:
The Longmont Public Safety Department regrets playing a role in the search of apartments of the residents of The Suites on May 10, 2017. Michael Kealy, Alice Boatner, William Sparling and Christine Herrera did not consent to the police searches of their apartments, nor were they given an opportunity by Longmont Police Services to do so. The Longmont Public Safety Department is working, and will continue to work, to ensure that its Police Officers conduct themselves in keeping with Longmont police policies and the Fourth Amendment.
The City of Longmont believes this settlement is in the best interests of all parties and our community, and we want to thank all involved for their participation.
Read the ACLU news release: https://aclu-co.org/aclu-longmont-reach-210k-settlement-warrantless-searches/