Former Colorado police officer sentenced to 5 years in prison

“The Loveland Police Department is grateful for the District Attorney’s diligence and pursuit of due process during this very important case.”

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Image Credit: KRDO

After pleading guilty to assaulting an elderly woman with dementia, a former Colorado cop was sentenced to five years in prison

On June 26, 2020, police body cam footage recorded Loveland Police Officer Austin Hopp confronting 73-year-old Karen Garner for allegedly stealing $13.88 worth of food and cleaning products from a Walmart. As Officer Hopp cuffed Garner’s hands behind her back, he suddenly dislocated her shoulder, fractured her humerus, and sprained her wrist after shoving her against the hood of a patrol car.

The charges against Garner were later dropped, and she filed a federal lawsuit 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. Last year, the City of Loveland agreed to a $3 million settlement.

At least four officers involved in Garner’s arrest were initially placed on administrative leave, including Sgt. Phil Metzler, Officer Hopp, Officer Daria Jalali, and community service officer Tyler Blackett, who assisted in booking Garner. They later resigned from the department.

On March 2, Hopp pleaded guilty to second-degree assault. On Thursday, he was sentenced to five years in prison.

“Instead of assessing the situation further, he immediately grabbed her arm behind her back and threw her to the ground,” Garner’s son, John Steward, stated in court before the sentence was announced. “That’s not ever how I should see my mom being treated.”

“The Loveland Police Department is grateful for the District Attorney’s diligence and pursuit of due process during this very important case,” Interim Loveland Police Chief Eric Stewart said in a statement after the sentencing. “While this will not change the terrible treatment Ms. Garner experienced, we hope that this sentence can bring some measure of justice to her and her family.”

Jalali, who also participated in Garner’s arrest, has been charged with failure to report Hopp’s use of force, official misconduct, and failure to intervene. She is currently scheduled to appear in court on June 22.

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