The city of Northglenn and its insurer have agreed to pay almost $9 million to settle claims from an officer-involved shooting that left one dead and another paralyzed in 2017.
It is among the largest settlement agreements in the state’s history related to police excessive force.
Jeremy Patscheck, 22, and Serina Minella, 25, were in a stolen 21-year-old Honda accord when Northglenn Police approached them in a driveway at 3 a.m. on Dec. 13, 2017.
Patscheck, who may have been asleep when officers first confronted him, tried to get away, bumping a police cruiser as he tried to get out. After that happened, Northglenn officers feared being struck by the car and opened fire, striking Patscheck eight times and killing him immediately. Minella was shot once and paralyzed from the neck down.
Neither were armed. Minella will require care for the rest of her life.
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She will receive $8.25 million, while Patschek's family will be paid $500,000. Attorney's fees for Minella and the Patschek family will be paid out of the settlement amounts.
“I’m happy the city of Northglenn has decided to be transparent about this and that all cities should be transparent in issues related to the policing of their citizens,” said Birk Baumgartner, a lawyer representing Patscheck’s family and Minella.
Northglenn reached this settlement in December, but it has a non-disclosure agreement attached, which means it did not appear on any city council agenda minutes. In a statement issued Tuesday, Northglenn said they city would pay a $100,000 deductible, with the insurance company covering the cost of the settlement and attorney's fees.
"City elected officials and staff leadership agreed that a public trial would prolong the tragedy and serve no one well, especially the injured party facing significant medical needs and costs," according to the Northglenn statement.
Mayor Meredith Leighty and Councilwoman Becky Brown said they could not talk about the payout.
“This is a tragic incident — a shooting, resulting in severe injury to a young woman and loss of life is never the outcome we hope for,” Northglenn Police Department Chief Jim May said. “Our hearts go out to the families, friends and all those associated or involved in this incident. My sincere hope is this offers some closure and supports the healing process for us all.”
May told CPR News that the officers involved, Nathan Galluzzo, Zachery Schieferecke and Emil Czernicki, were no longer officers with the department.
The officers were cleared of criminal charges by the Adams County District Attorney in 2018.
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