UPDATED 4/27, 4:05 p.m. ET: The family of 73-year-old Karen Garner issued a statement of disappointment and a call for action from the city of Loveland, Colorado. “The Loveland Police treated her like an animal,” reads a portion of the family’s impassioned words. “They laughed and fist-bumped while they were doing it. They reveled in her pain and did nothing to address it. They relished in stripping her of all dignity. We are physically sickened. We are angry.”
The Garner family’s full statement is as follows:
“We want to first thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts for all the support that’s been shown for our family and Karen during this time. The truth is that we are devastated. Karen is our mother. She is our children’s grandmother. She is a human being. The Loveland Police treated her like an animal. They laughed and fist-bumped while they were doing it. They reveled in her pain and did nothing to address it. They relished in stripping her of all dignity. We are physically sickened. We are angry. Our hearts could not possibly ache any more. Our mother was forever changed by this event. Once fiercely independent, happy, carefree and a great lover of the outdoors, she is now fearful, distrusting, reclusive. Sad. Look at what they did to her. It is no wonder why.”
It continues: “We want to know: When is Loveland going to be accountable for what they did? How much more can it take? The City of Loveland’s current silence and inaction is a slap in the face. What more could anyone need to see after watching these videos. They care more about protecting their officers and themselves than they do about the people they’ve hurt. It just doesn’t make any sense. We are heartbroken.”
The press release addresses what the Garner family is looking to see occur next, with attorney Sarah Schielke writing, “They want justice for Karen. They want justice for all the other vulnerable, powerless people that have been hurt by this police department. They want these five officers fired immediately. They want them to be criminally charged yesterday. They want the City leadership that hired these individuals and fostered this culture of abuse removed. Enough investigating. The police have known about this for 10 months and the videos speak for themselves. It’s time for action. It’s time for accountability and change in the City of Loveland starting right now.”
See original story below.
Body-cam footage of the violent arrest of a 73-year-old woman with dementia is receiving renewed attention this week after an extended video was made public showing officers watching and laughing the recording.
As highlighted by the Daily Beast’s Jamie Ross on Monday, the hour-long surveillance video shows the two officers from the Loveland Police Department in Colorado—previously identified by the Denver Post as Austin Hopp and Daria Jalali—making jokes while watching footage of the arrest. While the officers watched the footage, the woman—identified as Karen Garner, who was injured after being tackled during the arrest—waited in a cell for hours.
At one point in the clip, roughly around 48 minutes in, Hopp asks other officers if they’re “ready for the pop,” which is an apparent reference to the noise made when the woman’s shoulder was injured. Elsewhere, both Hopp and Jalali make jokes, including one about body-cam footage being a “favorite thing” to watch, while another officer jokes about turning body-cam footage into a TV show.
“This is utterly disgusting,” Garner’s attorney, Sarah Schielke of the Life and Liberty Law Office, said when sharing the surveillance clip on Monday. “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. I won’t be a part of that.”
According to Schielke’s office, Garner’s family hired a sound engineer to enhance the audio on the Loveland booking footage.
“They failed Karen Garner,” Schielke added. “They failed the community. And they did it all on camera. Do you realize how horrifying that is?”
Garner’s arrest occurred in June of last year. At the time, she was accused of having exited a local Walmart without paying for an estimated $13 worth of products. Per Garner’s family, she simply forgot to pay due to her dementia. Earlier this month, a federal lawsuit was filed against the officers by Garner’s family.
Complex has reached out to the Life and Liberty Law Office and the Loveland Police Department for additional comment.