Woman with dementia is suing Loveland Police Department over allegations of excessive violence

The Loveland Police Department was recently hit by a discrimination lawsuit after it used excessive force to arrest a woman with dementia.

A federal civil rights lawsuit was recently filed on behalf of a 73-year-old woman with dementia alleging she was “handcuffed and pushed to the ground after allegations of shoplifting.” The lawsuit was filed against the Loveland Police Department and alleged that the Police Department and officers Austin Hopp and Daria Jalabi and Sgt. Phil Metzler used excessive force against Ms. Karen Garner.

Photo by Logan Weaver on Unsplash

Shortly after the alleged incident, Hopp was taken on administrative leave while a police investigation is investigating what happened. According to the department, Jalabi and Metzler were “assigned to administrative tasks”. In addition, Loveland City Council members on Thursday called for a police department policy review. In a statement, the department said:

“LPD takes the allegations of the arrest of Karen Garner very seriously and is sharing concerns with the community about video images released on Wednesday.”

What happened? Well, on June 26, 2020, Garner was charged with “not paying for $ 13.88 in items”. It read: “Walmart employees asked Garner to return to the store when they saw she was leaving without payment and took back the items – a soda, candy bar, T-shirt, and refill wipes – and declined her request for payment . ”

A Walmart spokesperson stated:

“We stopped Ms. Garner after we noticed her attempt to take goods out of the store without paying for them… When we raised this issue with her directly, the situation escalated when she forcibly removed and off an employee’s face mask fled the business. The police were only called after Ms. Garner came into contact with an employee. “

The police arrived when Garner was leaving the shop. The lawsuit contains footage from police cameras of Hopp saying, “Ma’am, I don’t think that’s how you want to play it.” From there he stopped his patrol car and approached Garner. Then he said, “You have just left Walmart. Do you need to be arrested now?” Garner replied, “I’m going home.”

Soon after, she was handcuffed and forced to the ground.

After watching the footage, former Denver police chief James Ponzi, a 35-year law enforcement veteran, said, “It looks bad … you’re a big guy … you’re bringing a little old lady to the ground. ”

Jalali assisted with the arrest and Metzler reportedly ordered “Garner to be denied access to medical care for her subsequent injuries”. To make matters worse, the suit claims that Garner was “handcuffed to a police cell for more than two hours.” From there, she was “taken to Larimer County Jail, where she was left without medical treatment for an additional three hours.”

As a result of her ordeal, Garner suffered a broken arm and a shoulder injury. Her suit is looking for unspecified damage, arguing the law enforcement agency violated the Disabled Americans Act (ADA). The suit claims Garner has sensory aphasia and dementia, “which affects her ability to communicate and understand.”

The Larimer District Attorney’s Office made the following statement:

“Our firm is committed to fair and professional reviews of alleged excessive use of force. After a further review, the prosecution will assess whether an independent criminal investigation is warranted.”


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