UK

Colorado cops filmed laughing at bodycam video of arrest of elderly woman with dementia

Shocking new video shows two Colorado cops under investigation for their violent arrest of an elderly women with dementia laughing and cheering as they watched body-camera footage of the altercation hours later. 

Loveland Police Officers Austin Hopp and Daria Jalali arrested 73-year-old Karen Garner on June 26, 2020, after she left Walmart without paying for a candy bar, a can of Pepsi and a t-shirt totaling $13.38.

The cops received a call from Walmart employees and caught up with Garner – whose family said she forgot to pay due to her dementia – as she was picking flowers on the side of the road on her way home. 

Footage from Hopp’s body-camera shows him slamming Garner to the ground, causing her to fracture her elbow and dislocate her shoulder.  

The video went viral this month after it was released in a federal lawsuit Garner’s family filed against Hopp, 26, accusing him of violating her civil rights. 

Outrage over the clip was so intense that state prosecutors launched a criminal investigation into Hopp, Jalali and their supervisor on-scene supervising sergeant Phil Metzler last week. 

On Monday Gardner’s attorney Sarah Schielke released surveillance video purportedly showing Hopp and Jalali celebrating as they reviewed body-camera footage of Gardner’s arrest. 

Schielke said the officers could be heard mocking the ‘pop’ when Gardner’s shoulder dislocated while she sat a few yards away in a cell without having received any medical attention. 

Scroll down for video 

Surveillance video purportedly shows Loveland Police Officers Austin Hopp, Daria Jalali and a colleague laughing as they watched body-camera footage of their violent arrest of Karen Gardner on June 26, 2020 

Officers Hopp and Jalali arrested 73-year-old Gardner, who has dementia, last June after she left Walmart without paying for $13-worth of items. Body-camera footage (pictured) showed Hopp slamming Gardner to the ground after she repeatedly said: 'I'm going home'

Officers Hopp and Jalali arrested 73-year-old Gardner, who has dementia, last June after she left Walmart without paying for $13-worth of items. Body-camera footage (pictured) showed Hopp slamming Gardner to the ground after she repeatedly said: ‘I’m going home’

Surveillance footage from the Loveland Police Department showed three officers – two of them identified as Hopp and Jalali – gathered around a computer to watch the body-camera footage. 

‘Ready for the pop?’ Hopp is heard saying in apparent reference to Gardner’s arm coming out of it’s socket.

When the third unnamed officer asks: ‘What popped?’, Hopp nonchalantly replies: ‘I think it was her shoulder.’ 

‘I can’t believe I threw a 73-year-old on the ground,’ Hopp says. 

Jalali quipped: ‘It’s like live TV… Body-cams are my favorite thing to watch, I could watch livestream body-cams all day.’ 

The third officer suggests creating a TV show dedicated to body-camera footage before telling Hopp of his arrest: ‘Impressive, buddy.’  

Garner (pictured in a photograph taken several years ago) is  five feet tall, weighs 80 pounds and suffers from dementia

Garner (pictured in a photograph taken several years ago) is  five feet tall, weighs 80 pounds and suffers from dementia

In the caption of her YouTube video on Monday, Schielke wrote that the officers made their commentary while Gardner ‘remained handcuffed to a bench in a cell just 10 feet away from them, alone, confused and crying in pain. She would ultimately go over six hours without any medical attention.’

The civil rights attorney said Gardner’s family hired a sound engineer to enhance audio on booking videos from the day of her arrest. 

‘The video reveals a grotesque culture of callous disregard for the health and safety of citizens,’ Schielke wrote.

‘The officers fist bump one another multiple times in self-congratulation for both the assault on Garner and the intimidation of the citizen who attempted to complain about it.’ 

She continued: ‘This is utterly disgusting. These videos cannot be unseen or unheard. I am sorry to have to share them with the public. This will be traumatic and deeply upsetting for everyone to see.

‘But as it often goes with bad police departments, it seems this is the only way to make them change. They have to be exposed. If I didn’t release this, the Loveland Police’s toxic culture of arrogance and entitlement, along with their horrific abuse of the vulnerable and powerless, would carry on, business as usual.’ 

Surveillance footage from the Loveland Police Department showed three officers - two of them identified as Hopp and Jalali - gathered around a computer to watch the body-camera footage

Surveillance footage from the Loveland Police Department showed three officers – two of them identified as Hopp and Jalali – gathered around a computer to watch the body-camera footage

'Ready for the pop?' Hopp is heard saying in apparent reference to Gardner's arm coming out of its socket as she was pressed up against a squad car

‘Ready for the pop?’ Hopp is heard saying in apparent reference to Gardner’s arm coming out of its socket as she was pressed up against a squad car 

Hopp has been placed on administrative leave and Jalali was re-assigned to desk duty pending the internal investigation by the District Attorney for Larimer and Jackson counties, Gordon McLaughlin.  

McLaughlin said he had been unware of the incident until the body-camera video was released earlier this month. He has not publicly commented about the surveillance video.  

McLaughlin announced his investigation, which is being led by the Fort Collins Police Services with assistance from the US Attorney’s Office and the FBI, last Monday after Schielke filed the lawsuit on behalf of Gardner’s family. 

The probe could result in unspecified criminal charges against Hopp, Jalali and Metzler.  

If they don’t charge the officers, prosecutors must release a letter explaining why they chose not to do so, according to the Denver Post.  

Garner’s children called the investigation a ‘small but overdue step in the right direction’.

‘Clearly, the newly-elected DA understands what we suspected last summer — that only an independent, outside investigation, with all the world’s attention, will reveal the truth,’ they said in a statement. 

The Loveland Police Department is also conducting its own review of the incident. 

Last June, store employees had stopped Garner at the exit of the Walmart and retrieved the items she hadn’t paid for, according to her family’s lawsuit.  

Store officials said it did not suffer a loss from the incident, but an employee proceeded to report Gardner to police anyway.  

When Hopp and Jalali confronted Gardner she appeared visibly confused in body camera footage, repeatedly telling the officer she was just going home. 

‘Ma’am I don’t think you want to play it this way,’ Hopp says. ‘You just left Walmart. Do you need to be arrested right now?’

Within a few minutes, Hopp is seen dragging Garner — who is five feet tall and weighs 80 pounds — to the ground as she screams: ‘I’m going home’. 

Garner is subsequently seen being pushed up against the officers’ police car as she continues to wail: ‘I’m going home!’

‘Quit it!’ Jalali commands as she pulls Garner’s arm behind her back.

At that point, a snapping sound can be heard on the bodycam footage and Garner cries out in pain. 

Garner appeared visibly confused during the arrest, repeatedly crying out: 'I'm going home'

Garner appeared visibly confused during the arrest, repeatedly crying out: ‘I’m going home’

Officer Daria Jalali is pictured during the arrest of Karen Garner

Officer Daria Jalali is pictured during the arrest of Karen Garner

In another portion of the video, a driver can be seen stopping to inquire about the arrest. 

‘Do you have to use that much aggression?’ the passerby asks the cops. 

‘Get out of here! This is not your business!’ Hopp replies.  

Soon after, a third officer arrives at the scene and asks: ‘Are you guys all good?’

‘A little muddy, a little bloody, that’s how it works!’  Jalali says before confirming the blood was from Garner. 

Garner was taken into custody where she was reportedly held for hours without medical attention, despite insisting she was in pain.  

Photos taken in the aftermath of the arrest show Garner with a severely bruised and swollen arm. She also sustained a bloody nose

Photos taken in the aftermath of the arrest show Garner with a severely bruised and swollen arm. She also sustained a bloody nose

A photograph of Garner's severely bruised arm is seen above

A photograph of Garner’s severely bruised arm is seen above

Photos taken in the aftermath of the arrest show the elderly Garner with a severely bruised and swollen arm. She also sustained a bloody nose. 

Nobody sought medical help for Garner for about six hours after she was arrested, according to the lawsuit. 

‘It is a hard-to-watch video,’ attorney Schielke told the Reporter-Herald. 

‘It is the opposite of community policing. I thought a lot about this case as I have prepared to file it, and on paper and in the legal pleading it is an excessive-force case. In reality when you watch the video, you see this is a torture case.’  

The lawsuit claims the arrest violated her constitutional protections against excessive force and to have due process and also violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

According to the lawsuit, forgetting to pay for items in stores is common among those with dementia. 

It also said Garner suffers from sensory aphasia, which impairs her ability to communicate and understand what other people are saying.

In addition to her physical injuries, the lawsuit claims Garner now experiences fear, trauma and anxiety whenever she leaves her home. 

‘What little freedom and happiness Ms. Garner enjoyed in her life as an elderly adult with declining mental health was, on June 26, 2020, recklessly and deliberately obliterated by the Loveland Police Department,’ it said.   


Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button