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Sarah Schielke: A Trailblazer in the Fight Against Police Misconduct in Colorado

Sarah Schielke, a prominent civil rights attorney in Colorado, has made a name for herself by taking on cases involving police misconduct and wrongful arrests. Her tireless efforts have led to significant policy changes within law enforcement agencies and substantial settlements for her clients.

Schielke’s passion for civil rights law can be traced back to her time at Boston University School of Law, where she studied on a full academic merit scholarship and served as the Managing Editor of the Boston University Law Review. After graduating, she moved to Colorado and started her practice, the Life and Liberty Law Office, focusing on criminal defense and civil rights litigation.

One of Schielke’s most notable cases involved Harris Elias, a man who was wrongfully arrested for DUI by the Loveland Police Department in 2020 despite negative breathalyzer and blood tests. Schielke’s investigation revealed a disturbing pattern of officers prioritizing DUI arrest numbers over individual rights. The case was settled for $400,000, a significant sum for a wrongful arrest case with no physical injuries or jail time.

Schielke’s success in the Elias case is just one example of her dedication to holding law enforcement accountable. In another high-profile case, she represented Karen Garner, a woman with dementia who Loveland police officers violently arrested. Schielke’s strategic release of the body camera footage brought national attention to the case, leading to criminal charges against the officers involved and a $3 million settlement for the Garner family.

Schielke’s innovative approach to civil rights litigation often involves sharing body camera footage with the public to expose police misconduct. This strategy has proven effective in garnering support for her clients and prompting policy changes within police departments. In the case of Michael Clark, who Idaho Springs police officers brutally tased in his own home, Schielke secured a record-breaking $7 million settlement, sending a powerful message about the consequences of police misconduct.

Schielke has faced numerous challenges throughout her career, but her unwavering commitment to justice has driven her to overcome adversity. She credits her success to her constant pursuit of learning and the support of her husband, a stay-at-home dad to their two daughters.

Schielke’s impact on the civil rights landscape in Colorado has not gone unnoticed. In 2023, she was named one of USA Today’s Women of the Year, recognizing her as a champion of change in her field. Her new office building, funded by the settlements she has won against police departments, is a testament to her dedication to her clients and her relentless pursuit of justice.

As Schielke continues to take on challenging cases and expose police misconduct, her influence on the legal community in Colorado grows. Her background in psychology and her passion for civil rights law have made her a formidable force in the fight against injustice.

Sarah Schielke’s story inspires aspiring attorneys and advocates for justice everywhere. Her trailblazing efforts to hold law enforcement accountable and secure justice for her clients have made an indelible mark on the civil rights landscape in Colorado. As she continues to pave the way for reform and accountability, Schielke’s impact will undoubtedly be felt for years.

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