Loveland settle Karen Garner lawsuit for $3 million over violent arrest

The city of Loveland has agreed to pay $3 million to settle the federal lawsuit of Karen Garner, a 73-year-old with dementia who was violently arrested by police, city officials announced Wednesday.

Although the city has agreed to settle the civil case in response to the June 2020 arrest, the agreement does not include an admission of liability. Garner’s arm was broken and shoulder dislocated during the arrest, according to the federal lawsuit.

Two officers involved in the arrest, Austin Hopp and Daria Jalali, are still facing criminal charges. Both have since resigned from the department.

Community service officer Tyler Blackett, who helped book Garner into the jail, also resigned. Sgt. Phil Metzler, a supervising officer who had arrived at the scene and approved the use of force, is still on paid leave from the department as a third-party investigation continues.

“There is no excuse, under any circumstances, for what happened to Ms. Garner. We have agreed on steps we need to take to begin building back trust,” said Loveland Police Chief Bob Ticer in a statement. “While these actions won’t change what Ms. Garner experienced, they will serve to improve this police department and hopefully restore faith that the LPD exists to serve those who live in and visit Loveland.”

Hopp first contacted Garner after Walmart employees reported that she tried to leave the store without paying for $13 worth of merchandise. Although the employees got the items back, they still called police. Hopp contacted Garner as she was walking home, and during the arrest, he took her to the ground, pushed her against his police car and handcuffed her. Jalali assisted him with taking Garner into custody.

Video shows Hopp, Jalali and Blackett later laughing about the arrest as Garner sat in a nearby cell. They rewatched the body camera footage and Hopp said “Ready for the pop?”, which Garner’s lawyer said is the sound of Hopp dislocating the woman’s shoulder.

The announcement Wednesday follows the release of an internal police report showing three different supervisors signed off on the use of force against Garner and body camera footage of Metzler dismissing a bystander’s concerns about the incident.

Some of Garner’s family members and attorney Sarah Schielke plan to hold a news conference at 11 a.m. Wednesday to discuss the terms of the settlement as well as make another announcement related to the case.

This is a developing story and will be updated.


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