Justice Served

Elderly woman with dementia who was brutalized by cops in violent arrest gets $3 million payout

The Colorado city of Loveland has agreed to pay a $3 million settlement to a 74-year-old woman with dementia who was thrown to the ground by police officers and had a bone broken in her arm and her shoulder dislocated, The New York Times reports.

The federal lawsuit filed on behalf of Karen Garner says she 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.

According to a report from NBC News this April, Garner was walking home when she was stopped by Officer Austin Hopp on suspicion of stealing $13.88 worth of items from a Walmart. Garner has dementia and sensory aphasia, which likely caused not to understand that she had taken items without paying for them. Body camvideo shows Hopp asking Garner to stop, but she shrugs and keeps walking before Hopp takes her to the ground. Officer Daria Jalali then arrived on the scene and the video shows a brief struggle with Garner before Hopp hogties her and forces her into the back of a 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.

City manager of Loveland, Steve Adams, apologized to Ms. Garner and her family in a statement, saying that officials were taking “the necessary steps” to ensure that anything similar to the incident never happens again.

“The settlement with Karen Garner will help bring some closure to an unfortunate event in our community but does not upend the work we have left to do,” he said.

Hopp was charged with assault causing serious bodily injury, official misconduct and attempt to influence a public servant. Daria Jalali was charged with failure to report use of force, failure to intervene and official misconduct.

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