Who is Karen Garner? Dementia patient, 73, sues cop for fracturing arm during arrest as she forgot to pay $13.38

'A little muddy, a little bloody, that's how it works!' an assisting police officer was heard saying in the bodycam footage after arresting Garner

                            Who is Karen Garner? Dementia patient, 73, sues cop for fracturing arm during arrest as she forgot to pay $13.38
Karen Garner's arm was fractured during the arrest (Twitter/Chris Vanderveen, Life and Liberty Law Office)

LOVELAND, COLORADO: Colorado police officer Austin Hopp has been suspended for applying excessive force to arrest a 73-year-old woman with dementia and injuring her in the process. Karen Garner was left with a fractured arm and bruises after she was pushed to the ground by Hopp on June 26, 2020, after she forgot to pay $13.38 for her items at Walmart. Now, a Colorado attorney has filed a federal lawsuit against the police officer on behalf of Garner. 

The Loveland Police Department issued a statement on Thursday, April 15, 2021, informing that officer Austin Hopp has been placed on administrative leave, while assisting officer Daria Jalali and sergeant Phil Metzler have been reassigned to administrative duties. "LPD takes very seriously the allegations concerning the arrest of resident Karen Garner, and shares with the community the concerns about video images that became public on Wednesday," the department stated after the bodycam footage of the incident was released. 


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Who is Karen Garner?

Garner is a septuagenarian resident of Loveland, Colorado, who suffers from dementia and sensory aphasia which affects her ability to communicate and understand clearly. 

On June 26, 2020, Garner went shopping for a few items at the Loveland Walmart store at 1325 N. Denver Ave. She got a can of Pepsi, a candy bar, a t-shirt, and Shout laundry detergent, which brought her total to $13.38. However, Garner forgot to pay for her items. According to Greeley Tribune, store employees stopped her at the exit to retrieve the items, but they refused to let her pay. 

As Garner was walking home through a field, she was collecting wildflowers on the way, reported Star Tribune. The police then followed and caught up with her. She appears visibly confused on the bodycam footage as Officer Hopp can be seen pushing Garner to the ground. She continues to scream, "I'm going home" even as she is held up against the police car. Then Officer Jalali can be heard saying, "Quit it!" as she pulls Garner's arm behind her back. A snapping sound can be heard as Garner wails out in pain.


In the lawsuit, it has been mentioned that Garner suffered from a 'fractured arm and a dislocated shoulder', as well as sprained wrist and abrasion, due to the use of 'excessive force' by the officers. 

As a third officer arrives at the scene enquiring if everything is good, Officer Jalali can be heard saying, "A little muddy, a little bloody, that's how it works!" 

Garner was then reportedly held for hours in police custody without any medical attention despite being in severe pain. In fact, photos taken after the arrest depict Garner's arm as severely bruised and swollen, as well as a bloody nose. 

The bodycam video has been dubbed 'hard-to-watch' by attorney Sarah Schielke from Life and Liberty Law Office. 

"Makes me SICK to see/hear how they treated her"

Internet users have expressed their displeasure against the brutal use of excessive force by the arresting officers on an elderly woman with mental health issues.

"To everyone that screams “they should just comply.” This woman had dementia & was unable to comply. So, what else ya got? A lawsuit claims Karen Garner suffered a dislocated shoulder, a broken humerus and a sprained wrist during the arrest June 2020," tweeted one user. 

Another responded to LPD's statement saying, "Hope you all are proud of yourselves for what you did to Karen Garner, the elderly dementia patient who was CLEARLY in need of OTHER attention. SHAME on Hopp & Jalali. Makes me SICK to see/hear how they treated her. And NOW you take action?!?"

"I'm going home!" Forgetting to pay for items at a store is one of the most well-known symptoms in elderly persons suffering from dementia," mentioned a user. "Disgusting, but at least she lived," wrote one.





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