NewsAmerica in Crisis


Colorado police officers charged in violent arrest of 73-year-old woman with dementia

Karen Garner
Posted at 1:17 PM, May 19, 2021

DENVER — According to online court records, two former police officers in Loveland, Colorado, face charges in connection to the arrest of a 73-year-old woman with dementia last year.

Former police officers Austin Hopp, 26, and Daria Jalali, 27, are facing charges ranging from second-degree assault to official misconduct. Karen Garner, 73, says she suffered a broken arm and a dislocated shoulder in the arrest.

The court records show Hopp faces charges of second-degree assault causing serious bodily injury, attempt to influence a public servant and official misconduct. The first two charges are felonies.

Jalali faces misdemeanor charges of failure to report the use of force by a peace officer, failure to intervene and first-degree official misconduct.

In June 2020, Garner was arrested at a Walmart in Loveland for shoplifting about $14 worth of items at the store. She also allegedly removed an employee's COVID-19 mask during an altercation.

During that arrest, Garner says she suffered a dislocated shoulder and a broken arm. Later, video from inside the police department showed that Hopp, Jalali, Community Service Officer Tyler Blackett and two other officers joked and laughed about the arrest as Garner sat in a cell just feet away.

Loveland police officers who arrested a 73-year-old woman with dementia last summer laughed about the arrest when watching body camera video and fist-bumped each other, according to video newly released by the woman’s attorney on Monday.

Warrants were issued for both of the former officers, according to court records. Jail records did not show that either was in custody as of 1 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

The charges come after the 8th Judicial District Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) completed its review of the violent 2020 arrest.

The CIRT said earlier this month they planned to finish their independent review, led by the Fort Collins Police Services, by the middle of the month.

The review was initiated April 19, a week after an attorney for Garner filed a federal lawsuit against the police department and officers claiming they used excessive force during the arrest.

On April 30, Loveland Police Chief Robert Ticer said Hopp and Jalali were no longer employed with the department. Blackett also either resigned or was fired; the department has not offered clarification.

Loveland Police Sgt. Phillip Metzler, a supervisor involved in Garner's arrest, was placed on administrative leave, and Sgt. Antolina Hill, a supervisor at the jail, was still on duty as of May 7.

On Tuesday, an ordinance that would establish a community trust commission in the wake of the Garner incident passed its first reading at Loveland City Council.

District Attorney Gordon McLaughlin will hold a news conference announcing the outcome of the review at 1 p.m. local time on Wednesday.

This story was originally published by Blair Miller on Scripps station KMGH in Denver.