Recorded on body cam video fracturing the arm of an elderly woman who suffers from dementia, three Colorado police officers involved in the arrest recently resigned from the department.
On June 26, 2020, police body cam footage recorded Loveland Police Officer Austin Hopp as he confronted Karen Garner, a 73-year-old woman who suffers from dementia and sensory aphasia, which impairs her ability to verbally communicate and understand others’ communications. Walmart employees called the police after Garner attempted to leave the store with $13.88 worth of food and cleaning products.
In the video, Officer Hopp cuffed Garner’s hands behind her back before shoving her against the hood of a patrol car. Despite the fact that Garner is only five feet tall and weighs 80lbs., Hopp abruptly dislocated her shoulder, fractured her humerus, and sprained her wrist.
The charges against Garner were later dropped, and she filed a federal lawsuit last month accusing the city and police officers of violating her constitutional protections against excessive force, to have due process, and also violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. At least four officers involved in Garner’s arrest were placed on administrative leave, including Sgt. Phil Metzler, Officer Austin Hopp, Officer Daria Jalali, and community service officer Tyler Blackett, who assisted in booking Garner.
On Friday, Loveland Police Chief Robert Ticer announced that officers Hopp, Jalali, and Blackett have resigned from the department. Sgt. Metzler remains on administrative leave, while Sgt. Antolina Hill, who was involved in booking Garner, still works her regular duty assignment.
“I share the community’s concerns on this. It hurt to see that,” Chief Ticer said during a press conference on Friday. “I’ve been in law enforcement 32 years, and what I saw in there hurt me, personally.”
Ticer added, “Our goal at the Loveland Police Department has always been to make our community proud. We failed, and we are very sorry for that.”
“(Ticer) said that our mother’s case has ‘hurt him personally,’” the Garner family said in a statement. “It is clear that the only thing that has ‘hurt him personally’ has been the attention this case has brought to his department. Not what happened to our mother. We are disappointed.”
None of the officers involved in
Garner’s arrest currently face any criminal charges for breaking her arm
while she was already in custody. The district attorney’s office has launched a
Incident Response Team to investigate the incident.