The New York Post:
A Colorado cop is under investigation for the forceful arrest of a 73-year-old woman with dementia after she walked out of a store without paying for cheap items and even returned them when asked.
The arrest of a 73-year-old Loveland woman who lives with dementia has raised concerns among many in the Northern Colorado region after body camera video of the arrest went viral online. Attorneys representing Karen Garner, who suffers from dementia and sensory aphasia, say the fragile woman experienced a broken arm, dislocated shoulder and sprained wrist following an altercation with Loveland Police Officer Austin Hopp in June 2020.
A team of outside investigators will probe whether criminal charges are justified against the Loveland officer who threw the suspect to the ground and allegedly fractured her arm.
The woman was arrested for attempting to steal $13 worth of merchandise from Walmart last June.
Body camera footage shows that Officer Austin Hopp forced Karen Garner to the ground before Hopp and Officer Daria Jalali held her against a police car.
“(Hopp) drove behind her for a little bit, about 20 seconds with his lights on, expecting a certain response,” said Sarah Schielke, Civil Rights Attorney for The Life & Liberty Law Office in Loveland.
The incident took place on June 26, 2020 near a Walmart. Schielke said her client was accused of stealing $13.88 worth of merchandise from the store. Staff members were able to stop her before she left with the items. Schielke claims her client was confused and had slipped away from the supervision of her family at the time.
“Officer Hopp grabbed her and threw her to the ground,” Schielke said. “Officer Hopp pushed her arm up, chucked her into the dirt, searched her and hogtied her.”
During the arrest Officer Jalali, a female officer, assisted.
Garner — who weighs 80 pounds — suffered a fractured arm and dislocated shoulder, and was left with bruises and scrapes, according to a lawsuit she filed against the department. Garner has dementia and sensory aphasia, the lawsuit states.
In the video, which some may find difficult to watch, Garner repetitively says “I am going home.” For a significant portion of the body camera video, those are the only words she is heard saying. Schielke sourced that to her client’s inability to have insight and express herself properly.
Throughout the encounter, Hopp is heard maintaining a calm tone, though breathing heavily at times.