Harrowing video has emerged of two Colorado cops pushing a 73-year-old woman with dementia to the ground in a violent arrest which they later laugh about, giving each other a fist bump.
The two cops, who are under investigation, are heard on camera laughing and fist bumping as they watch the replay of the arrest on body camera footage while the confused and injured lady sat sobbing in a jail cell, refused medical treatment for six hours.
Loveland Police Officers Austin Hopp and Daria Jalali arrested Karen Garner on June 26, 2020, after she left Walmart without paying for a candy bar, a can of Pepsi and a t-shirt totaling $13.38.
According to a lawsuit filed against those involved, forgetting to pay for items in stores is common among those with dementia. The lawsuit also says Garner suffers from sensory aphasia, which impairs her ability to communicate and understand what other people are saying.
Walmart staff were able to direct Garner back into the store and recover the items but still called police who caught up with the elderly lady as she walked home picking wild flowers along the side of the road.
Footage from Hopp’s body-camera shows him slamming Garner to the ground, causing her to “fracture her elbow and dislocate her shoulder.”
Surveillance footage from the Loveland Police Department showed three officers – two of them identified as Hopp and Jalali – later after the arrest gathered around a computer to watch the body-camera footage, seemingly impressed with the noise her arm makes as it came out of its socket.
“Ready for the pop?” Hopp is heard saying.
When the third unnamed officer asks: “What popped?”, Hopp casually replies: “I think it was her shoulder.
“I can’t believe I threw a 73-year-old on the ground,” Hopp says.
Jalali added: “It’s like live TV… Body-cams are my favorite thing to watch, I could watch livestream body-cams all day.”
The third officer suggests creating a TV show dedicated to body-camera footage before complimenting Hopp on his arrest: “Impressive, buddy.”
While the officers enjoyed watching the footage of this violent arrest the 73-year-old woman was just 10 feet away handcuffed in a jail cell and seeming to lose consciousness several times.
The video has since gone viral after been released on social media and a federal civil rights lawsuit filed against the police department says supervising officer, Sgt. Phil Metzler, who also is under investigation, knew the elderly woman was injured and allowed her to be kept in a holding pen with no care.
After viewing the video state prosecutors then decided to launch a criminal investigation into the officers involved and Metzler, as per the Daily Mail.
Garner’s attorney Sarah Schielke posted the video on YouTube noting that the officers made their commentary while Garner “remained handcuffed to a bench in a cell just 10 feet away from them, alone, confused and crying in pain. She would ultimately go over six hours without any medical attention.”
The civil rights attorney said Garner’s family hired a sound engineer to enhance audio so their words can be clearly heard.
“The video reveals a grotesque culture of callous disregard for the health and safety of citizens,” Schielke wrote.
“The officers fist bump one another multiple times in self-congratulation for both the assault on Garner and the intimidation of the citizen who attempted to complain about it,” referring to the passerby who asks if the cops have to use that much aggression to which Hopp says: “Get out of here! This is not your business!”
Schielke continued: ‘This is utterly disgusting. These videos cannot be unseen or unheard. I am sorry to have to share them with the public. This will be traumatic and deeply upsetting for everyone to see.
“But as it often goes with bad police departments, it seems this is the only way to make them change. They have to be exposed. If I didn’t release this, the Loveland Police’s toxic culture of arrogance and entitlement, along with their horrific abuse of the vulnerable and powerless, would carry on, business as usual.”
Hopp has been placed on administrative leave and Jalali and Metzler was re-assigned to desk duty pending the internal investigation by the District Attorney for Larimer and Jackson counties, Gordon McLaughlin.
Garner’s children called the investigation a “small but overdue step in the right direction”.
Garner, who is 5ft tall and weighs 80 pounds, suffered a severly bruised and swollen arm as well as a bloody nose.
In addition to her physical injuries, the lawsuit claims Garner now experiences fear, trauma, and anxiety whenever she leaves her home.
“What little freedom and happiness Ms. Garner enjoyed in her life as an elderly adult with declining mental health was, on June 26, 2020, recklessly and deliberately obliterated by the Loveland Police Department,” the lawsuit said.
I cannot imagine how distressing this was for Karen Garner and for her family to have to watch this complete disregard for their loved one as a human being with mental health issues.
I’m confused as to why police had to be called in the first place let alone her despicable treatment after. This video disgusts me and I wonder if anyone else has been treated this way by these officers as they appear to believe it’s a great effort on their part.
Please share so we can help get justice for this elderly woman, whose life has been irreversibly changed by this atrocious incident.