Two former Colorado police officers have been charged in connection to an arrest of a 73-year-old woman with dementia.
Austin Hopp and Daria Jalali, who resigned from the Loveland Police Department in April, face criminal charges in connection to the arrest of Karen Garner, The Coloradoan reported.
Hopp is charged with attempt to influence a public servant, assault causing serious bodily injury and official misconduct.
Jalali is charged with failure to intervene as a peace officer, failure to report use of force by a peace officer and official misconduct.
Larimer County District Attorney Gordon McLaughlin announced the charges during a Wednesday afternoon news conference live streamed on Facebook by Denver7. The independent investigation was done by Fort Collins Police Services.
Garner was arrested in June 2020 at a Loveland Walmart after being accused of shoplifting items worth $14 and removing an employee’s face mask during the confrontation, KSHB reported.
Garner said she suffered a broken arm and dislocated shoulder during the arrest and video inside the police department showed Hopp, Jalali, community service officer Tyler Blackett and two other cops laughing about the arrest, according to the station.
“I was immediately concerned with what I saw,” McLaughlin said during the news conference, after reviewing videos related to Garner’s arrest.
“While peace officers are able to use reasonable force to effect an arrest, the investigation in this case showed Officer Austin Hopp used excessive during the arrest of Ms. Garner and that resulted in serious bodily injury,” McLaughlin said.
Hopp also made “substantial omissions” in his reporting of Garner’s arrest, according to the district attorney.
“At this time, we do not believe that the evidence supports criminal charges against the other folks involved,” McLaughlin said.
Garner filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city and the officers last month.
Garner’s family released a statement after surveillance video was released, according to CBS Denver:
“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.”