Two years after he roughed up and broke the arm of an elderly woman with dementia — and then bragging out it to his colleagues, former Loveland, Colorado, police officer Austin Hopp will be going to prison, the Denver Post reports.
Hopp pleaded guilty to a second-degree assault charge in March and was sentenced this Thursday to five years behind bars followed by three years of parole. Larimer County District Judge Michelle Brinegar called Hopp’s actions toward the victim, 73-year-old Karen Garner, “deliberate, deceitful and calculated.”
“This case is not about a mistake,” Brinegar said. “This [is] about a young officer who used his position of power and authority to show off his toughness, disregarded any sense of humanity and showed an alarming deal of criminal thinking.”
A federal lawsuit says Garner suffered a dislocated shoulder, a fractured arm and a sprained wrist after she was slammed to the ground and hogtied. The incident was captured on body cam video and went viral after it was made public.
NBC News reported last year that Garner was walking home when she was stopped by Hopp on suspicion of stealing $13.88 worth of items from a Walmart. Garner’s family says she has dementia and sensory aphasia, which impairs her ability to verbally communicate with people or understand what they’re saying.
Body cam video shows Hopp asking Garner to stop, but she apparently didn’t understand him and kept walking before Hopp took her to the ground.
Jalali arrives, and video shows them struggling with Garner before Hopp hogties her and forces her into the back of a police car. Another officer, Daria Jalali, arrived on the scene and struggled with Garner before Hopp hogtied her and put her in the back of his police car.
Additional footage that was released shows Hopp, Jalali, and a third officer, Tyler Blackett, back at the Loveland Police station watching the video of the arrest and laughing at it.
“Ready for the pop?” Hopp said, referring to moment when Garner’s shoulder was injured. “Hear the pop?”
Blackett then asked Hopp what he was referring to, and Hopp replied, “I think it was her shoulder.” Hopp and Blackett can later be seen exchanging a fist bump.
According to the Denver Post, Hopp apologized in court and accepted responsibility for the incident.
“I am truly ashamed of my actions,” Hopp said.