Karen Garner's Family Speaks Out Over Arrest by Loveland Police Who Mocked Dementia Sufferer

Karen Garner's family have said they had tears in their eyes when officers mocked the dementia sufferer, and claim she has not been the same since her arrest.

After Garner, 73, was released from jail in Loveland, Colorado, her family said the usually happy grandmother of nine had changed following her arrest last year.

Her daughter-in-law, Shannon Steward, said Garner was not able to tell them what had happened to her and that she was anxious and non-communicative and had remained "at that level." She added Garner is now taking anti-anxiety medication.

She continued to tell the Loveland Reporter-Herald: "She hasn't come back the way she was right before."

Garner was detained by an officer on June 26 last year after she left a Walmart store without paying for $13 worth of items she had taken.

Walmart employees phoned police after they had retrieved the items from Garner and refused to accept payment from her

Bodycam footage of the arrest showed Officer Austin Hopp asking Garner to stop walking. He carried out an arrest when she did not follow his requests.

During the arrest, Garner was put in handcuffs, forced to the ground and hobbled as police put her into the back of a patrol vehicle.

Garner's elbow was fractured and her shoulder was dislocated during the arrest, according to her attorney Sarah Schielke.

Schielke has since filed a lawsuit on behalf of Garner and alleges her client was confused when Hopp carried out the arrest.

In the lawsuit, she said: "The timbre of Officer's Hopp's voice as he reports this gives the unmistakable impression that a needless officer assault on an elderly disabled woman is just another day at the office."

Schielke also disputes Hopp's report where he said his actions were to "place [her] on the ground in a controlled manner," calling them a false claim.

The attorney also released footage on Monday that showed Hopp and officers Daria Jalali and their supervisor Sergeant Philip Metzler watching a video of Garner's arrest.

In the video, Hopp and Jalali exchanged a fist bump in the booking office as Garner sat in her holding cell a few feet away.

Hopp told Jalali: "I thought it went great. I think we crushed it."

As the clip continued, Hopp asked Jalali if she could hear a "pop," possibly referring to Garner's dislocated shoulder. He added: "I hear, 'pop.' I was like, 'oh no.'"

Hopp later added: "I can't believe I threw a 73-year-old on the ground."

As the footage continued, Jalali could be seen covering her face with her hands and said: "I hate it." The two men, however, laughed and said they "love it."

Jalali and Metzler were listed as co-defendants in the lawsuit.

Steward responded to the officer's actions and told the Herald-Reporter: "We heard that pop and burst into tears, you're hearing the pop and giving fist bumps over it. This is far beyond what we even suspected, but yet did suspect."

A spokesman for the City of Loveland said in a statement that the Hopp had been placed on administrative leave and that the Jalali and Metzler had been reassigned to administrative work.

The statement, released last week, added: "The footage is difficult to watch and we understand the strong emotions evoked including the outrage, fear and distrust.

"We understand your concerns and the seriousness of the allegations in the lawsuit, and are taking a full account of all the questions and concerns raised."

Steward told Reporter-Herald the force's response to the incident was like putting "a Band-Aid on a bullet wound. It is nothing meaningful. It is just gestures and required statements."

The clips of the officer's actions come as police across the U.S. have fallen under intense scrutiny.

Worldwide protests were sparked last year after former Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin was filmed kneeling on George Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes. Chauvin would later be found guilty of Floyd's murder.

The disgraced officer's actions were condemned and led to calls for police reform, including from President Joe Biden.

Garner was forced to the ground
Garner was forced to the ground during the arrest. Loveland Police