Sarah Schielke: Exposing Police Misconduct and Fighting for Civil Rights in Colorado

Sarah Schielke, a civil rights attorney and founder of the Life and Liberty Law Office in Colorado, has significantly impacted the legal landscape through her tireless efforts to hold law enforcement accountable for misconduct and wrongful arrests. Her unique approach to civil rights cases and dedication to her clients have led to record-breaking settlements and policy changes within police departments.

Schielke’s journey as an attorney began unconventionally, with her posting an ad on Craigslist offering discount legal services to gain experience. This resourceful approach allowed her to quickly build a diverse caseload and hone her skills as a litigator. In 2012, she opened her practice, focusing on criminal defense and civil rights litigation.

One of Schielke’s most notable cases involved Karen Garner, a woman with dementia who was violently arrested by Loveland police officers in 2020. Schielke’s strategic release of the body camera footage brought national attention to the case, ultimately leading to criminal charges against the officers involved and a $3 million settlement for the Garner family. This case highlighted Schielke’s ability to expose injustice and secure significant victories for her clients.

Schielke’s success continued with the case of Harris Elias, who was wrongfully arrested for DUI by a Fort Collins police officer in 2021 despite negative breathalyzer and blood tests. This case marked the second time Elias had been wrongfully arrested for DUI, emphasizing the systemic issues within law enforcement agencies that Schielke aims to address through her work.

Schielke has faced numerous challenges and adversities throughout her career but remains committed to fighting for her client’s rights. Her definition of courage—trusting oneself, loving others, and striving to leave the world a better place—guides her approach to her personal and professional life.

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 success and dedication to her clients.

As Schielke continues to take on challenging cases and expose police misconduct, her influence on the legal community grows. Her advice to her younger self, “Keep loving to learn,” reflects her commitment to personal growth and her belief in the power of knowledge in the fight for justice.

With her background in psychology and her passion for civil rights, Sarah Schielke has become a formidable force in the legal world. As she continues to pave her way and fight for her client’s rights, her impact on the lives of those she represents and the wider community is undeniable. Schielke’s unwavering commitment to justice and willingness to stand up against powerful institutions inspire those seeking to create a more equitable and just society.

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