Shocking new video shows two Colorado cops under investigation for their violent arrest of an elderly women with dementia laughing and cheering – and giving each other a fist bump – as they watched body-camera footage of the altercation hours later.
They were celebrating all while the 73-year-old woman was suffering in a jail cell, the photos reveal – disheveled and seeming to lose consciousness several times.
Loveland Police Officers Austin Hopp and Daria Jalali arrested 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 store later confirmed it had recovered the items and hadn’t lost any money.
City officials haven’t apologized to the woman or her family, according to the Loveland Reporter-Herald. The footage of the arrest went viral on social media after its release earlier the month in the wake of a new lawsuit against the department.
The suit says during the first hour Garner was in custody, she said: ‘They hurt my shoulders’ 22 times and ‘They hurt my wrists’ 13 times. She wasn’t given any medical treatment.
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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 Garner on June 26, 2020
Officers Hopp and Jalali arrested 73-year-old Garner, 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’
Hopp (left) and Jalali (right) appeared to exchange a fist bump after placing Garner in a cell
A statement from the attorney representing Garner in a federal civil rights lawsuit against the department said supervising officer, Sgt. Phil Metzler, who also is under investigation, knew Garner was injured and allowed her to be kept in a holding pen with no care.
The incident began last June when the Loveland 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 the department and against the Hopp, Jalali and Metzler, accusing them 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 Metzler last week. Officers Tyler Blackett and Sgt. Antolina Hill have been added to the suit, Garner’s attorney said Monday.
Attorney Sarah Schielke released surveillance video purportedly showing Hopp and Jalali celebrating as they reviewed body-camera footage of Garner’s arrest.
Garner (pictured in a photograph taken several years ago) is five feet tall, weighs 80 pounds and suffers from dementia
Schielke said the officers could be heard mocking the ‘pop’ when Garner’s shoulder dislocated while she sat a few yards away in a cell without having received any medical attention.
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.’
In the caption of her YouTube video on Monday, Schielke wrote that the officers made their commentary while Garner ‘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 Garner’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
‘Ready for the pop?’ Hopp is heard saying in apparent reference to Garner’s arm coming out of its socket as she was pressed up against a squad car
A statement from the attorney representing Garner in a federal civil rights lawsuit against the department said supervising officer, Sgt. Phil Metzler (right), knew Garner was injured and allowed her to be kept in a holding pen with no care
Officer Daria Jalali is seen in footage from Hopp’s body-camera during Garner’s arrest
Blackett, one of the officers named to the suit, can be heard in the video asking Hopp if he read Garner her Miranda rights, according to the attorney. Hill meanwhile, allegedly reviewed an affidavit regarding use of force and then joined in on jokes being made about Garner’s injuries.
Hopp has been placed on administrative leave and Jalali and Metzler 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 Garner to police anyway.
When Hopp and Jalali confronted Garner 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’
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
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.