Emily Dutka was arrested by the Loveland Police Division on two counts of DUI in Could 2020. The problem was, she wasn’t drunk.
After the arrest, a blood take a look at confirmed Dutka’s blood alcohol focus was 0.027 — considerably beneath the authorized restrict of 0.08. Expenses towards Dutka have been dropped and her report was expunged, however the injury was already performed.
On the time of the arrest, Dutka was within the Nationwide Guard and within the means of transferring to the Military Reserves so she might transfer abroad to be together with her husband and two youngsters, who have been dwelling in Austria and getting ready to maneuver to Serbia for her husband’s job. Due to the arrest, the switch was dissolved and Dutka was separated from her household for almost six months.
“It’s time I’ll by no means get again,” mentioned Dutka, a 27-year-old Fort Collins resident. “I missed my daughter’s first steps. I missed her second birthday. … It’s triggered points between my marriage, it’s triggered emotional points, attachment points (with my children).”
Dutka was supposed to hitch her household in Serbia in June 2020, however as an alternative she was pressured to start out her switch course of over and didn’t get to maneuver till November 2020. This got here after Dutka had already been away from her household since November 2019 as a result of she needed to return to the U.S. for coaching.
“It saved me away from my children for a 12 months, when it was solely imagined to be six months,” Dutka mentioned. “My son, on the time, he was 5 and my daughter was 2. I already spent a lot time away from them and I couldn’t return dwelling and so they didn’t perceive what was happening.”
Dutka mentioned the incident triggered vital emotional hardship for her household, including that she and her husband are actually within the means of getting divorced. The arrest additionally triggered monetary hardships resulting from authorized charges and Dutka having to lease an condominium within the U.S. for six months.
Legal professional Sarah Schielke with the Life and Liberty Regulation Workplace mentioned Dutka will not be the one particular person to be harm by wrongful DUI arrests made by the Loveland Police Division.
Schielke filed a lawsuit towards the police division earlier this month, alleging that Loveland Officer William Gates has knowingly and wrongfully arrested not less than 4 folks within the final 12 months for DUI by claiming they odor of alcohol and have watery eyes, just for their take a look at outcomes to come back again clear.
“I’m conscious of over a dozen wrongful DUI arrests made by the Loveland PD in simply an 18-month span,” mentioned Schielke, who represented Dutka in 2020 to get her report expunged. “Two extra people who have been wrongfully arrested by LPD officers for DUI have known as me in simply the final hour. There’s a clearly rising sample right here.”
Schielke mentioned she is working on submitting an amended criticism towards the police division with the brand new allegations. Dutka didn’t pursue authorized motion on the time of her arrest as a result of she was targeted on getting again to her household; nonetheless, she mentioned she is contemplating becoming a member of Schielke’s lawsuit.
Dutka’s arrest occurred simply after 11:30 p.m. on Could 9, 2020, close to West forty third Road and North Wilson Avenue in Loveland. Dutka mentioned she was driving to her aunt’s home in a rental automobile after dropping off her pals from a Combined Martial Arts battle. Loveland Sgt. Antolina Hill pulled her over for having a headlight out.
In a duplicate of the arrest report offered by Dutka, Hill claims Dutka’s eyes have been watery and bloodshot and that she smelt alcohol on her breath. Dutka repeatedly maintained her sobriety, admitting to Hill she had taken a couple of sips from a drink 4 hours previous to driving. After voluntarily finishing a roadside sobriety take a look at, Hill arrested Dutka and took her to get her blood examined, which proved Dutka’s sobriety weeks later.
The Loveland Police Division defended Dutka’s arrest in an announcement despatched to The Denver Gazette, saying the arrest was lawful as a result of it was based mostly on possible trigger.
“Possible trigger doesn’t require an officer show the cost past an affordable doubt, and it doesn’t require prosecution and conviction,” the assertion mentioned. “The truth that the District Legal professional’s Workplace dismissed the costs is an instance of the justice system working as supposed. This was not a wrongful or unconstitutional arrest.”
Instantly after the arrest, Dutka filed a criticism towards Hill. The police division responded with a letter two months later, saying they reviewed the incident and located that Hill acted in accordance to their coverage.
Nevertheless, Dutka claims Hill lied on the arrest report back to justify the arrest. Within the report, Hill wrote that Dutka failed a nystagmus take a look at, which means her eyes involuntarily jerked as she gazed in a sure route, an indication of intoxication. Dutka mentioned this isn’t true and that she and her father, who’s a police officer in Fort Collins, repeated the take a look at when she had drank alcohol and located no signal of nystagmus.
The Loveland Police Division has been the topic of high-profile complaints within the final 12 months. In August, the police division was sued after an officer fatally shot a family’s dog for strolling as much as him.
Most infamously, Loveland officers violently arrested a 73-year-old woman with dementia in June 2020 — throwing her to the bottom, breaking her arm and dislocating her shoulder — after she allegedly stole lower than $15 value of things from a Walmart retailer. A ensuing lawsuit named Hill as a defendant, saying she ignored the sufferer’s complaints of accidents. The lawsuit resulted in a $3 million settlement in September.
“It’s not simply Sgt. Hill that’s the drawback. It’s the police division as an entire,” Dutka mentioned. “There’s a lot misconduct and no accountability. I need them to acknowledge that their insubordination and their misconduct have triggered extreme hardship for a lot of households, emotionally, mentally and financially.”