Colorado city to pay $3 million settlement after 73yo woman with dementia injured during violent arrest
The police in the city of Loveland, Colorado admitted to having used excessive force when arresting an elderly woman with dementia last year. Her family has reached a settlement with authorities.
Loveland City Manager Steve Adams apologized to Karen Garner and her family for the excessive force used in the woman’s arrest in June of last year, during which she sustained multiple injuries, including a dislocated shoulder and a sprained wrist.
Officers Austin Hopp and Daria Jalali, who conducted the arrest, resigned from the force and are currently charged with official misconduct. Hopp is also charged with causing serious bodily harm.
“There is no excuse, under any circumstances, for what happened to Ms. Garner,” Loveland Police Chief Bob Ticer said, adding that police needed to “begin building back trust” with the community.
The family’s lawyer Sarah Schielke told reporters the settlement was the closure the city and its police force owed to Garner. “This is justice for my mom,” the victim’s daughter, Allisa Swartz, said. “There needs to be some change in this department. I don’t want to see this happen to anyone else’s families.”
Walmart employees called police after Garner, who was 73 at the time, walked away without paying $13.88 for the items she took. The woman suffers from dementia with sensory aphasia, a condition which makes it difficult to understand speech.
According to police bodycam footage, Hopp began quickly approaching Garner, who was walking on the side of a country road. He ordered the woman to stop, but she did not comply.
WARNING: DISTURBING VIDEO
Hopp then slammed Garner to the ground and escorted her to the squad car. “Why did you do that? I told you to stop. You don’t get to act this way,” he said. With Jalali’s help, he subdued Garner by putting her on the ground again and using handcuffs and leg restraints. Garner repeatedly said “I’m going home” during the altercation.
A witness confronted Hopp about him using physical force against the woman. “She refused to stop, refused to listen to lawful orders and [tried] to fight me,” the officer said in the video. “This is what happens when you fight the police. I have to use force to safely detain her. This isn’t just some random act of aggression.”
The officers were later filmed joking and fist-bumping each other while watching the video of the arrest and discussing the incident at the station. According to Garner’s lawyer, she had to wait several hours before a doctor could see her, despite complaining about her injuries.
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