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Dementia Patient Wins $3 Million Settlement After Beat-Down by Colorado Cops

An elderly woman with dementia who suffered a fractured shoulder when a pair of Colorado cops wrestled her to the ground in June 2020—over $13.88 worth of merchandise she’d forgotten to pay for—won a $3 million settlement on September 8, 2021, in a federal civil rights lawsuit filed over the incident.

Karen Garner, 73, who suffers cortical dementia and sensory aphasia, was never charged with theft because she surrendered the unpaid-for merchandise to Walmart employees when they confronted her outside the store in Loveland.

But when she was spotted on a roadside by Loveland Police Department (LPD) officers Austin Hopp and Daria Jalali, they attempted to stop her. When she became confused and tried to walk away, Hopp tackled her, causing her shoulder to dislocate with an audible “pop.” She was taken into custody for six hours before she was released and received medical treatment.

After the release of body-camera video footage that showed Hopp’s brutality against the five-foot-tall woman, he was charged with engaging in excessive force resulting in serious injury. Jalali was also charged for failing to report her partner’s crime. Both officers then resigned, along with a third officer, Tyler Blackett, who was caught on surveillance video inside the police station exchanging a fist-bump with Hopp as they viewed the body-cam footage and heard the “pop” of Garner’s dislocating shoulder.

Though LPD Assistant Chief Ray Butler viewed the footage afterward and determined that Hopp’s use of force was “reasonable,” LPD Chief Robert Ticer insisted in a May 2021 news conference that he had not been aware of the video evidence for a full eight months after the violent arrest. After the settlement was announced, he promised that his department had “agreed on steps we need to take to begin building back trust.”

“There is no excuse, under any circumstances, for what happened to Ms. Garner,” the chief said.

Garner’s attorney, Sarah Schielke, called on Ticer to resign or be fired within 30 days “in order for this community to actually heal.” If that happens, she promised to donate $50,000 of her own funds to “any dementia or Alzheimer’s charity of (Ticer’s) choice.”

 

Source: Law & Crime

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