Family of dementia patient who was assaulted by cop, slams deal that will imprison him for a YEAR

Garner's family learned that prosecutors are offering Hopp a plea deal that will reduce his charges and likely slash his sentence to just a few years


                            Family of dementia patient who was assaulted by cop, slams deal that will imprison him for a YEAR
Austin Hopp (R) knocked Karen Garner (L) to the ground, dislocated her shoulder, and fractured her arm in June 2020 (Chris Vanderveen/Twitter and Larimer County Sheriff's Office)
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LOVELAND, COLORADO: Colorado cop Austin Hopp was fired and charged with serious bodily harm after his body-cam captured him knocking 73-year-old dementia patient Karen Garner to the ground and breaking her arm in June 2020. The 26-year-old cop was hit with felony charges of second-degree assault, attempting to influence a public servant, and official misconduct.

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However, last week, Garner's family learned that prosecutors were offering the former Loveland Police Department cop a plea deal that would reduce his charges and likely slash his sentence to just a few years at an upcoming plea hearing. Garner's family is disgusted and unhappy over the possibility that Hopp could possibly walk free in a year.

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In June 2020, Garner left a Walmart in Larimer County without realizing that she had forgotten to pay her $13.88 bill. Walmart employees approached her and took her back inside. She offered to pay, but they refused and decided to call the police. As Garner walked home and picked wildflowers, she was approached by Officers Austin Hopp and Daria Jalali. Hopp knocked Garner to the ground, dislocated her shoulder, and broke her bones.

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Garner, who frequently forgets things because she suffers from dementia, cried out in pain because of her fractured arm and dislocated shoulder, but Hopp dragged her to his police car. Garner was held for 6 hours and received medical treatment after nearly 3 hours. After investigation, she was released and the charges were dropped. The department's CCTV spotted Hopp laughing and joking as he played the footage to colleagues. "I think it went great. I think we crushed it," he gloated and gave his accomplice Jalali a fist bump. "I was like, 'All right, let's wrestle, girl. Let's wreck it!"

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Garner's daughter-in-law Shannon Steward told Daily Mail, "Karen didn't resist. She didn't fight. She didn't swear. She did nothing to deserve this inhumane treatment. You would expect that officer to get her home safely not to abuse her, throw her down, assault her, and then leave her locked up for six hours with a dislocated shoulder. We think there's more than enough evidence to get a guilty verdict so why do a deal now? This is cheapening what happened to Karen, it's not justice."

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Steward said that her outgoing and happy mother-in-law never recovered from the incident. She said that even though the Loveland city leaders fired both the cops and paid Garner a $3 million settlement, nothing could repair the damage done to Garner's quality of life.


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Garner, who lives in a facility for dementia patients and suffers from PTSD, can no longer recognize her three children and nine grandchildren. "After the incident, all she could say was, 'Why did they do this to me? Why did they do this to me?' She couldn't discuss it, she just repeated herself over and over. She didn't trust anyone. The doctors and nurses would try to come into her room and she would push the doors shut. She wanted to be left alone. She couldn't get a Covid vaccine because she wouldn't let anyone touch her. We were told by her care facility that PTSD has accelerated her dementia. She wouldn't even let us hug her," explained Steward.

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Garner's family was contacted last week by Assistant District Attorney Matt Maillaro and asked to review a potential plea deal that would scrap the less serious charges and downgrade the assault charge. Steward said that the family rejected it, but Maillaro pushed on regardless. "We were taken aback. We were unhappy. Karen has no ability to comprehend what is going on with the case, but we reviewed it as a family and said categorically no."

"It's not just us, our town - the video went global, the world was outraged when they saw that video. We will have to go before the judge and plead with him to give Karen what she deserves, her day in court," Steward concluded.

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27-year-old Daria Jalali, who was also a part of the incident, was in a romantic relationship with Hopp. She was pressed with misdemeanor charges of failing to report excessive use of force, failure to intervene, and first-degree official misconduct.

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