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September 24, 2020

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Lauren Gotthelf v. Boulder County, et al.

Civil Action No. 19-cv-3102-WJM-KLM

Boulder County, Colo. - A settlement was reached on Sept. 21, 2020, in Lauren Gotthelf's lawsuit against the Boulder County Sheriff's Office in the amount of $400,000. The lawsuit alleged that eight jail employees used excessive force against Ms. Gotthelf in 2017, primarily by using a conductive energy device (CED) commonly known as a Taser on her while she was being placed in a restraint chair. As a result of the lawsuit, Boulder County has re-evaluated its policies and made the following changes:

  • Prohibiting the use of a CED by a deputy while an individual is restrained in a restraint chair;
  • Requiring consultation with jail mental health staff before using a restraint chair to restrain a detainee, where possible;
  • Requiring the presence of jail medical or mental health staff to evaluate the need for suicide protocols regarding a detainee before implementing suicide protocols, where possible;
  • In-person mental health services will be available for detainees at all times (except that during the COVID pandemic, they may be provided through Telehealth means during nighttime hours); and
  • Additional mandatory training of deputies on these changes in policy, including de­escalation and treatment of inmates and detainees with mental health concerns.