US

Colorado city pays $3M to settle police brutality lawsuit with 73-year-old woman with dementia

A Colorado city paid $3million to settle a federal police brutality lawsuit involving a 73-year-old woman with dementia, who was beaten during an arrest and left in lockup for six hours without medical care. 

The elderly woman, Karen Garner, was arrested by now-former Loveland Police Officers Austin Hopp, 26, and Daria Jalali, 27, on June 26, 2020 after she inadvertently left Walmart without paying for $13 worth of items.  

They were seen in bodycam footage slamming Garner to the ground and twisting her arm, which resulted in a fractured elbow and dislocated arm, according to a federal lawsuit filed in April. 

Garner was left in a jail cell for more than six hours and is seen in security footage from the cell crying out for help 51 times in the first hour alone.  

The settlement was announced Wednesday morning and is nearly finalized. 

‘This is justice for mom,’ Allisa Swartz said while fighting back tears during a  Wednesday press conference.   

Shannon Steward, Garner’s daughter-in-law, said this incident was ‘the lowest form of human behavior and indecency, particularly by people who should be respected and know how to show respect.’  

Bodycam footage showed Hopp throwing Karen Garner to the ground on June 26, 2020

Garner's daughter Allisa Swartz fights back tears during Wednesday's press conference announcing the settlement. 'This is justice for mom,' she said

Garner’s daughter Allisa Swartz fights back tears during Wednesday’s press conference announcing the settlement. ‘This is justice for mom,’ she said

Garner's daughter-in-law Shannon Steward said this incident was 'the lowest form of human behavior and indecency'

Garner’s daughter-in-law Shannon Steward said this incident was ‘the lowest form of human behavior and indecency’

Swartz, Steward and their family lawyer Sarah Schielke sent direct shots at the Loveland Police Department, including a renewed call for Police Chief Bob Ticer to step down.  

‘I’m hoping this dollar amount makes them realize that they need to make changes in that department, and we’re not playing around,’ Swartz said. ‘It needs to stop.’ 

Garner’s family and Schielke called on the city to change the leadership of the police department and break up ‘the good ‘ol boys club’ on the City Council. 

Schielke took it a step further and said if Chief Ticer is fired or resigns within 30 days, she will donate $50,000 of her own money to an Alzheimer’s or dementia charity of his choice. 

Scroll down for press conference video. 

Garner, 73, is seen here in pain in the jail cell without medical care and her injured arm still cuffed behind her back

Garner is seen here as the happy grandmother she was before the June 2020 arrest

Garner’s family said she was a happy grandmother (right) before the traumatizing arrest in June 2020 where she was left in a jail cell in pain with her broken arm still cuffed behind her (left)  

Photos taken in the aftermath of the arrest show Garner with a bruised and swollen arm

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

Photos taken in the aftermath of the arrest show Garner with a bruised and swollen arm

Attorney Sarah Schlieke said called on Loveland Police Chief Ticer to step down. She said if he is fired or resigns within 30 days, she will donate $50,000 to an Alzheimer's or dementia charity of his choice

Attorney Sarah Schlieke said called on Loveland Police Chief Ticer to step down. She said if he is fired or resigns within 30 days, she will donate $50,000 to an Alzheimer’s or dementia charity of his choice

Loveland city representatives and the Loveland Police Department didn’t respond to DailyMail.com’s requests but comment, but city officials released statements Wednesday morning. 

Loveland City Manager Stephen Adams said the settlement is ‘in the best interest of all involved.’

‘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,’ Adams said. 

‘We extend a deep and heartfelt apology to Karen Garner and her family for what they have endured as a result of this arrest.

‘We know we did not act in a manner that upholds the values, integrity, and policies of the City and police department, and we are taking the necessary steps to make sure these actions are never repeated.’ 

Chief Ticer said in a statement that ‘there is no excuse, under any circumstances, for what happened to Ms. Garner.’

‘We have agreed on steps we need to take to begin building back trust. While these actions won’t change what Ms. Garner experienced, they will serve to improve this police department and hopefully restore faith that the LPD exists to serve those who live in and visit Loveland.’

While Garner pleaded from her jail cell for help, the arresting officers – who were just 10 feet away from the her jail cell – ignored her cries and instead laughed at the bodycam footage of the arrest. 

Hopp and Jalali were heard on the department’s security camera admiring the ‘pop’ when Garner’s shoulder dislocated and seen fist bumping each other while Garner was locked up in a jail cell in pain just a few feet away.  

Garner was ultimately diagnosed with a fractured arm, dislocated shoulder as well as a sprained wrist and was covered in scrapes and bruises, according the lawsuit. 

She has never regained full mobility in her arm, her lawyer Schielke told DailyMail.com. She still needs help with everyday tasks like getting dressed or showering, Schielke said, because of her injuries.

Garner’s family said the Loveland police treated their mother and grandmother like ‘an animal’ and it took several months, media scrutiny and public outrage to get an apology. 

Surveillance footage showed Hopp and Jalali fist bumping and laughing while watching the footage as Garner was locked up in a jail cell in pain just feet away

Surveillance footage showed Hopp and Jalali fist bumping and laughing while watching the footage as Garner was locked up in a jail cell in pain just feet away

Garner (pictured)  was transported to a local police station where she sat in a jail holding cell awaiting booking for six hours crying in pain over her arm injuries

Garner (pictured)  was transported to a local police station where she sat in a jail holding cell awaiting booking for six hours crying in pain over her arm injuries

Events of Garner's forcible arrest on June 26, 2020

Events of Garner’s forcible arrest on June 26, 2020

The family wanted everyone to know that the first eight seconds of the bodycam footage before Hopp tackled her was who Karen was, Shielke told DailyMail.com in April. 

‘Happy, carefree, enjoying the outdoors, picking flowers,’ Shielke said. ‘After this event, all that is gone. She is fearful, distrustful of everyone, reclusive. She is sad. The few things about life she was still able to enjoy as an elderly woman with declining cognitive health prior to this event, were obliterated by the Loveland Police Department.’ 

After the videos made national headlines and were widely shared on social media, Loveland Police Chief Bob Ticer announced that Hopp, Jalali and community service officer Tyler Blackett were let go by the department.

He didn’t say if they resigned or were fired.  

Sgt. Phil Metzler, who was present during Garner’s arrest, was placed on leave but is still on the force, which Schielke took exception to and said he should be fired. 

Hopp and Jalali have since been criminally charged. 

After a warrant was issued for their arrest, Hopp and Jalali surrendered themselves to the Larimer County Jail on May 20.  

Hopp was charged with second-degree assault and attempt to influence a public servant, both felonies, as well as a misdemeanor charge of official misconduct.

Jalali’s charge –  all misdemeanors – are for failing to report a use of force, failing to intervene and official misconduct.

Austin Hopp, 26, briefly appeared in court to hear his charges on Thursday

 Austin Hopp, 26, briefly appeared in court to hear his charges on Thursday 

Hopp's body camera footage shows him catching up to her as she walked through a field

Hopp’s body camera footage shows him catching up to her as she walked through a field

During the June 2020 incident, Garner walked out of the Walmart with a candy bar, a can of Pepsi, a T-shirt and wipe refills.

Garner was stopped by staff and asked to return to the store, where they recovered the unpaid merchandise, but employees still contacted law enforcement.

Hopp’s body camera footage showed him catching up to Garner as she walked through a field.

In the footage, Garner appeared visibly confused and repeatedly told the officers that she was on her way home.

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

After she turned away from him, he quickly grabbed her arm and pushed the elderly woman to the ground, the footage showed. 

After the lawsuit was filed, DailyMail.com exclusively revealed Hopp and Jalali’s romantic relationship at the end of April.

Around the time of Garner’s arrest, then-married Hopp moved into Jalali’s new home in Windsor, Colorado, where they lived together until mid-February when Hopp suddenly moved out.

Exclusive pictures obtained by DailyMail.com taken on June 14, 2020, just days after they moved in together, showed Hopp and Jalali sitting on the front porch and holding hands.

DailyMail.com exclusively revealed Hopp and Jalali's relationship in April

DailyMail.com exclusively revealed Hopp and Jalali’s relationship in April 

Austin Hopp  turned himself in after a warrant was issued for his arrest

Daria Jalali also turned herself in after a warrant was issued for her arrest

Austin Hopp, left, and Daria Jalali, right, turned themselves in on Thursday morning after warrants were issued for their arrest

According to divorce documents, Hopp’s separated from his wife of six years on June 7. She filed for divorce on July 8.

Several neighbors of Jalali’s confirmed to DailyMail.com that Hopp and Jalali had been living together but kept to themselves and weren’t very friendly.

One neighbor said they have been living together at the house since the day they moved in last June.

But another neighbor said their romance was short-lived with Hopp moving out in February.


Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button