A 73-year-old woman in Loveland, Colorado walked out of a local Walmart with $13.88 worth of merchandise she forgot to pay for. The thought of shoplifting had never crossed her mind and the attempted theft wasn’t intentional. In fact, not much of anything was crossing her mind at the time. The woman, who suffers from dementia, suddenly found herself in handcuffs and had no idea why. And she put up quite a fight.
Her struggle with the arresting officers resulted in a broken humerus, a dislocated shoulder, and a sprained wrist. The woman, Karen Garner, has snapped to her senses long enough to file a lawsuit over her violent arrest. She and her family not only want the arresting officers fired, but also the “city leadership that hired these individuals and fostered this culture of abuse.” They aren’t interested in money.
The initial lawsuit was only against the arresting officers and whoever hired them, but now the case is growing. Everything changed after a newly released video shows other officers hooping and hollering at the police station while watching the bodycam video of the woman being violently taken down.
The newly revised suit now includes three additional names. Officer Austin Hopp, Daria Jalali, and Tyler Blackett, who were all three belly-laughing at the video, aren’t laughing as loudly now. The family, via their attorney, Sarah Schielke, released the following statement. “We are physically sickened. We are angry. Our hearts could not possibly ache anymore.”
The statement further read, “Once fiercely independent, happy, carefree and a great lover of the outdoors, she is now fearful, distrusting, reclusive.” The family also reiterated how Garner is a “human being” and not an “animal.”
In a press release, Schielke said time’s up. Being how the original incident took place months ago, she said there’s been “enough investigating. The police have known about this for 10 months and the videos speak for themselves. It’s time for action.”
Loveland Police spokesperson Tom Hacker gave a cop-out answer when asked about the ongoing issue. “All matters related to the arrest of Loveland resident Karen Garner in June 2020 are subject to a criminal investigation, ordered by the 8th Judicial District Attorney and conducted by Fort Collins (Colorado) Police Services.” Understood. But 10 months?
To keep from being further questioned, Hacker added, “Independent comment from the Loveland Police Department would not be appropriate at this time. LPD has faith in the due process that this investigation allows for.”
The video of the laughing officers was recorded by an in-house camera shortly after Garners’ arrest. In it, Hopp asked Jalali how the arrest had gone, and then the two are seen chuckling and fist-bumping.
Here’s is the recorded conversation between the three cops watching the video. When asked about the arrest, Hopp said, “Well, I thought it went well. I think we crushed it.”
“Well, I thought it went great,” Hopp says, adding, “I think we crushed it.” Jalali, who had also been on the scene, then said that watching body cam videos is “like live TV, to which Blackett adds, “the bodycam show.” With this are all heard giggling like school children. Jalali then adds, “Bodycams are my favorite thing to watch. I could watch Livestream bodycams all day.”
After a short while, Jalali takes a turn and is no longer comfortable with what she is seeing. She asks the other two, “Can you stop it now?” “What?” Hopp answers back. Jalali is then seen covering her ears as Hopp asks, “Are you ready for the pop? Hear the pop?”
It’s not yet been made clear what the pooping sound was, but it was enough to prompt Jalali to say, “I hate this.” Hopp disagreed by responding with, “This is great.” Jalali again says, “I hate it,” followed by Hopp saying, “I love it.” It’s suspected that the popping sound may have come from one of Garner’s bones snapping.
While all of this was transpiring, Karen Garner was sitting in a jail cell just several feet away, where she was held for six hours while in excruciating pain, witnessing the entire scene. She was finally transported to a local hospital for treatment.
The lawsuit claims, “For the 6 hours that Ms. Garner was kept in custody by Loveland and the jail, despite many jokes made about her being disabled and mentally unfit, no one attempted to locate Ms. Garner’s caregiver, console or help her, de-escalate her, or alert her loved ones to her terrible situation.”
There’s trouble on the horizon for these cops who could very well soon wear the title of former cops. Had it not been for the family’s attorney stepping in the investigation could have easily, and legally, continued on for another 10 months. and longer. But now it won’t. Justice will soon be served.
The majority of police officers spread around this great country are well respected, decent, and honest. But they seldom make the news. It’s the bad apples like these three that make the entire batch seem rotten, and they, unfortunately, receive all of the publicity.