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Ex-cops who roughed up and mocked 73-year-old woman with dementia are criminally charged

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 5/20/2021 Theresa Braine

The former Colorado cops who roughed up a 73-year-old woman with dementia over a $14 unpaid Walmart tab – for merchandise she put back – have been criminally charged.

Austin Hopp and Daria Jalali, both directly involved in the June 2020 arrest of Karen Garner, were charged with felonies and misdemeanors. They were first placed on leave and then left the police force, along with Tyler Blackett. The three, along with colleagues, later mocked Garner while viewing video footage of the arrest in Loveland, a city about 50 miles north of Denver.

a smiling man in a blue shirt: In this undated photo provided by Allisa Swartz, is Karen Garner, who is suing Loveland, Colorado and three of its police officers over her arrest in June 2020. © AP In this undated photo provided by Allisa Swartz, is Karen Garner, who is suing Loveland, Colorado and three of its police officers over her arrest in June 2020.

In this undated photo provided by Allisa Swartz, is Karen Garner, who is suing Loveland, Colorado and three of its police officers over her arrest in June 2020. (AP/)

Hopp, who handcuffed Garner, was charged with second-degree assault and attempt to influence a public servant, both felonies, and with misdemeanor first-degree official misconduct, District Attorney Gordon McLaughlin said Wednesday.

Jalali arrived when Garner was already handcuffed but did nothing to temper Hopp’s conduct. She is charged with misdemeanor failure to perform the duty to report excessive use of force, failure to perform the duty to intervene in excessive use of force and first-degree official misconduct.

The arrest only came to light when Garner’s family filed a federal lawsuit earlier this year and released video of the violent takedown. Garner suffered a broken arm, dislocated shoulder and bruises across her entire body, according to the lawsuit.

The cops had accosted Garner, who suffers from dementia and sensory aphasia, as she left a Walmart after failing to pay for $13.44 worth of items.

a close up of a person: Karen Garner, pictured filed a lawsuit against the Loveland Police Department. © Loveland PD Karen Garner, pictured filed a lawsuit against the Loveland Police Department.

Karen Garner, pictured filed a lawsuit against the Loveland Police Department. (Loveland PD/)

Ignoring her protestations that she was going home, and in absence of the actual merchandise, cops hog-tied the crying 5-foot-tall, 80-pound senior citizen and threw her to the ground, body camera footage shows.

“Based on a thorough and independent investigation into the arrest of Karen Garner, criminal charges have been filed against the two officers involved in the excessive use of force,” said McLaughlin, District Attorney for Colorado’s 8th Judicial District. “Charges are only allegations; defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.”

The video evidence goes a long way toward proving the allegations, not least of all because jailhouse footage showed the same cops cackling about the incident later while reviewing said video, fist-bumping each other and mocking her misery while she was just a few feet away.

“Ready for the pop?” Hopp said as he showed fellow officers the footage.

Cops laughed and fist-bumped after violent arrest of 73-year-old woman with dementia, jailhouse video shows

Investigators found that Hopp filed reports to mislead his superiors and protect himself, according to his arrest affidavit, The Associated Press reported. He did not mention Garner’s shoulder injury in an initial report. In a report filed after being told that she was going to the hospital, he wrote that Garner was asked several times if she wanted medical attention but that she did not answer.

Family members said Garner has not been the same since the arrest.

“She’s just really scared and traumatized,” said her daughter, Allisa Swartz, according to KMGH-TV. “Instead of embracing us because we are her loved ones, she pushes us away instead of reaching over and touching us to let us know she cares. She just pulls away. She’s just scared.”

With News Wire Services

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