Loveland Police Officers Placed on Leave Over Karen Garner Arrest

Colorado authorities have placed four officers on leave as they continue their investigation into the arrest of Karen Garner, a 73-year-old woman who has dementia.

According to 9News in Denver, Loveland Police Department officers Austin Hopp and Daria Jalali, Sergeant Phil Metzler and community service officer Tyler Blackett are all on administrative leave.

Garner's attorney, Sarah Schielke, has released a video that shows Hopp, Jalali and Metzler watching bodycam footage of Garner's arrest in the Loveland PD booking office. In the clip, Hopp appears to brag about the incident, telling Jalali: "I thought it went great. I think we crushed it."

As they continue to watch, Hopp asks Jalali if she can hear a "pop," possibly referring to the dislocation of Garner's shoulder during the arrest. He says: "I hear, 'pop.' I was like, 'oh no.'"

The three officers are seen at different points fist-pumping, laughing and gloating while discussing the case or watching the footage.

9News reported that Blackett was at the booking office Garner had been taken to and also took part in her transfer to Larimer County Jail.

Tom Hacker, public information officer for the City of Loveland, said: "It's a really important thing for everyone to know that this is now a criminal investigation."

He added that the Loveland Police Department had asked for the inquiry and said: "We hope this investigation goes as expeditiously as possible and that we learn of the outcome very soon."

Garner, a grandmother of nine, was detained on June 26 last year after she left a Walmart without paying for $13 worth of items.

After store employees took back the items and refused Garner's offer to pay for them, they called the police.

Bodycam footage showed Officer Hopp asking Garner to stop as she clutched a bunch of wildflowers and said: "I'm going home."

During the arrest, Hopp gripped Garner, pinned her down and hog-tied her hands behind her back.

A lawsuit filed by Schielke claims Hopp dislocated the 73-year-old's shoulder and fractured her elbow during the arrest.

Schielke claims Garner was confused during the incident. Her dementia and sensory aphasia prevented her from being able to respond to the situation, according to the lawsuit.

The attorney also disputes Hopp's report of the arrest, which says his actions were to "place [her] on the ground in a controlled manner."

Footage of the arrest and the officers watching it later has been viewed 203,000 times on the website of Schielke's law firm.

Newsweek has contacted Loveland City officials for comment.

Karen Garner
Karen Garner, a 73-year-old grandmother with dementia, is arrested by Loveland Police officers on June 26, 2020.