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WATCH – ‘We Are Concerned’: Loveland Police Chief Responds To Forceful Arrest Of 73-Year-Old With Dementia

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CBS Local – Denver:

The arrest of a 73-year-old Loveland woman who lives with dementia has raised concerns among many in the Northern Colorado region after body camera video of the arrest went viral online. Attorneys representing Karen Garner, who suffers from dementia and sensory aphasia, say the fragile woman experienced a broken arm, dislocated shoulder and sprained wrist following an altercation with Loveland Police Officer Austin Hopp in June 2020.

“(Hopp) drove behind her for a little bit, about 20 seconds with his lights on, expecting a certain response,” said Sarah Schielke, Civil Rights Attorney for The Life & Liberty Law Office in Loveland.

Schielke filed a 52-page lawsuit Wednesday accusing Officer Hopp, Officer Daria Jalali, Sgt. Philip Metzler and the City of Loveland of excessive force and violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

The incident took place on June 26, 2020 near a Walmart. Schielke said her client was accused of stealing $13.88 worth of merchandise from the store. Staff members were able to stop her before she left with the items. Schielke claims her client was confused and had slipped away from the supervision of her family at the time.

Schielke said Garner left the store, but was traced by Officer Hopp. In the body camera footage, Hopp is heard nicely asking Garner to stop. However, Garner continued to walk. It wasn’t until Hopp came near to her that she eventually stopped, and refused to speak with him. That is when Hopp is seen grabbing Garner to detain her.

“Officer Hopp grabbed her and threw her to the ground,” Schielke said. “Officer Hopp pushed her arm up, chucked her into the dirt, searched her and hogtied her.”

During the arrest Officer Jalali, a female officer, assisted.

In the video, which some may find difficult to watch, Garner repetitively says “I am going home.” For a significant portion of the body camera video, those are the only words she is heard saying. Schielke sourced that to her client’s inability to have insight and express herself properly.

Throughout the encounter, Hopp is heard maintaining a calm tone, though breathing heavily at times.

More at CBS Local -Denver

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