Fort Collins to pay $150,000 to Chicago school teacher after obstruction arrest


The city of Fort Collins has agreed to pay a school teacher $150,000 after a police officer entered his home without consent and peppered sprayed him in the face.

The settlement agreement was reached in February, before Enan Joe Heneghan filed a lawsuit against the city. An internal investigation is ongoing into Officer Aaron Westby’s actions, a police spokeswoman said.


Heneghan, who teaches in Chicago and was spending the summer of 2016 with a friend in Fort Collins, said he hopes the settlement brings accountability to the Fort Collins Police Department.


“I credit Fort Collins for acknowledging a constitutional violation when they see one,” his lawyer, David Lane, said.

Neighbors had complained on July 17 about loud music at Heneghan’s house in the 1900 block of Corriedale Court. Westby came to tell them to turn down the music. Heneghan and his roommate complied, but Heneghan refused to step outside and show the officer his identification.


Westby reached across the door’s threshold and tried to pull Heneghan out, according to Heneghan’s account. Heneghan and his roommate, who also are musicians, recorded audio of the encounter and posted it on YouTube. Heneghan was arrested for obstructing a police officer and resisting arrest, and he spent two days in the Larimer County jail. The charges were dropped in August. Heneghan said a conviction could have ruined his teaching career.

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