An elderly woman with dementia who allegedly tried to steal $13 worth of merchandise from Walmart was violently arrested by Loveland Police and suffered multiple injures including a broken humerus, dislocated shoulder and sprained wrist, and then left her to sit in a detention cell as they watched the body camera footage of her arrest and laughed about it with other officers. This is what the family of Karen Garner claims after jail booking video surfaced that recorded the officer laughing and not addressing Garner’s injuries.
The U.S. Attorney’s office for the District of Colorado and the 8th Judicial District Attorney’s Office of Colorado along with the Fort Collins Police Service are investigating the arrest and the three officer’s behavior. The officers are Austin Hopp who made the arrest along with Daria Jalali and Tyler Blackett who were present.
Newly obtained jail booking video shows Hopp saying “Well, I think it went great, I think we crushed it.” As the three officer watch the body camera footage they can be heard talking.
Blackett is heard saying “the body cam show’ and then laughs.
Jalali says, “Bodycams are my favorite thing to watch. I could watch livestream bodycams all day.”
As the footage continues with Jalali becoming uncomfortable with the situation and saying, “Can you stop it now?”
Hopp says, “What?… Are you ready to pop?” While Jalali covers her ears.
Hopp says, “Hear the pop?
Jalali says, “I hate this.”
Hopp says, “This is great.
Jalali says, “I hate it.”
Hopp responds again, “I love it.”
The lawsuit says, "For the 6 hours that Ms. Garner was kept in custody by Loveland and the jail, despite many jokes made about her being disabled and mentally unfit, no one attempted to locate Ms. Garner's caregiver, console or help her, de-escalate her, or alert her loved ones to her terrible situation.”
We contacted the Loveland Police Department who said they can not comment on a pending case but did say they believe “they will have their day in court.” The amended lawsuit includes Loveland as well as five police officers as defendants according to Garner’s attorney, Sarah Schielke.
“Unless she was physically combative, posed a serious threat, how does allegedly stealing $13 worth of merchandise from Walmart justify broken bones and being ridiculed and laughed at? What if that was their grandma? Police culture has to change. They justify aggressive tactics and wearing more tactical gear with the ‘us versus them’ mentality and it’s situations like this that create the us versus them feelings. It’s disgusting that they can find the time to get others to watch the video and laugh at it but can’t find the time to summon medical care” says Lynn Houston, a Colorado police reform activist.