A Colorado police department has announced the resignation of several officers who were involved in the violent arrest of an elderly woman with dementia.
Loveland Police Chief Robert Ticer announced the news Friday, shortly after body camera footage of the incident was released to the public. The three officers who left their positions have been identified as Austin Hopp, Daria Jalali, and community service officer Tyler Blackett.
“I share the community’s concerns on this,” Ticer told reporters, according to CNN. “It hurt to see that. I’ve been in law enforcement 32 years and what I saw in there hurt me personally.”
In June 2020, 73-year-old Karen Garner was arrested on Mountain Lion Road after she allegedly walked out of a Walmart without paying for $13.88 worth of items. Body cam footage shows law enforcement confronting Garner as she was walking home. Officers were then seen forcefully pushing the woman to the ground and putting her handcuffs. According to a federal lawsuit filed on Garner’s behalf this month, the woman sustained multiple injuries during the arrest; they included a broken humerus, a dislocated shoulder, and a sprained wrist. Garner was then booked into county jail, where she allegedly remained for several hours before receiving medical care.
Loveland Police Sgt. Phil Metzler is also named in the lawsuit, but has been placed on administrative leave.
The lawsuit was later amended to include another video that purportedly showed Hopp, Jalali, and Blackett watching footage of Garner’s arrest while laughing. Garner was reportedly just 10 feet away in a cell as officers viewed the video with amusement.
“We are physically sickened,” Garner’s family said in a statement. “We are angry. Our hearts could not possibly ache any more. Once fiercely independent, happy, carefree and a great lover of the outdoors, she is now fearful, distrusting, reclusive.”
Outside law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and US Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado, are investigating the arrest.