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Three Officers No Longer With Loveland PD Following Violent Arrest Of Elderly Woman

Karen Garner was arrested by Loveland police officers last summer after trying to leave a Walmart store without paying for $14 of items.
Loveland Police Department
Karen Garner was arrested by Loveland police officers last summer after trying to leave a Walmart store without paying for $14 of items.

Two Loveland Police officers who were involved in the violent arrest of an elderly woman with dementia last summer are no longer with the department, Chief Bob Ticer announced on Friday. The third individual, a community service officer, was not on the scene; he was involved in booking.

Body camera video released earlier this month shows Officer Austin Hopp taking 73-year-old Karen Garner to the ground and then, along with Officer Daria Jalali, forcing her into a police vehicle after Garner tried to leave a Walmart store without paying for $14 worth of items.

“It hurt to see that,” Ticer said. “I’ve been in law enforcement 32 years and what I saw in there hurt me, personally.”

Hopp had been with the department for approximately one year, and Jalali for three years, though both had previously worked as officers elsewhere, according to Ticer.

A federal lawsuit filed against the police officers and city of Loveland earlier this month alleges officers used excessive force during the arrest when they dislocated Garner’s shoulder and caused other injuries.

Video released by her lawyers on Monday shows the officers laughing about the incident in the booking area of the police station later that day.

“Our goal at the Loveland Police Department has always been to make our community proud. We failed and we are very sorry for that,” Ticer said, acknowledging anger from the community.

Soon after the federal lawsuit was filed, the Loveland Police Department agreed to mandatory dementia training, offered by the Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado. A deadline for completion has not yet been set.

An investigation into the incident, run by Fort Collins Police Services and the 8th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, is ongoing. Ticer says the department will launch an internal affairs investigation, in consultation with a third party investigator.

A protest is planned for Saturday in front of Loveland Police headquarters. Hundreds of people have responded to the Facebook event posting.

Chief Ticer is set to speak about the Garner lawsuit Monday evening during Loveland’s Police Citizen Advisory Commission meeting.

As KUNC's Senior Editor and Reporter, my job is to find out what’s important to northern Colorado residents and why. I seek to create a deeper sense of urgency and understanding around these issues through in-depth, character driven daily reporting and series work.