As seen in newly released surveillance footage, police in Loveland, Colorado appeared to give each other a fist bump during a discussion about hearing a 73-year-old woman’s shoulder “pop” during her arrest and voicing concern that she was “senile.” The exchange occurred a little more than a quarter of the way through an hour-long video released by the woman’s law firm, which says that she suffered a dislocated shoulder and has dementia.
Karen Garner’s lawyers previously released body cam footage from the point-of-view of the arresting officer Austin Hopp, and in a federal lawsuit, they claimed the cop dislocated the woman’s shoulder after she forgot to pay $13.88 at Walmart. She lives with cortical dementia and sensory aphasia, a condition described as an “inability to understand spoken, written or tactile speech symbols that results from damage to the area of the brain concerned with language,” according to the complaint.
In body camera footage of the June 26, 2020 incident, Hopp can be seen grabbing Garner from behind at the side of the road when she started to walk away. He apparently pulls her arms behind her back and places her on the ground. At one point, he appears to bend her over the hood of his vehicle, while twisting her left arm.
“Are you finished?” Hopp can be heard saying. “Are you finished? We don’t play this game. You understand me? If you try to kick me, oh, this is going to be bad.”
The situation disturbed a male bystander, but Hopp told him he did not know the whole story.
Garner’s attorneys claim that police deprived her of medical attention for more than six hours.
The footage, newly released by the Life & Liberty Law Office, picks up later in the day, with officers bantering during the woman’s booking. Garner is out of the room at the time.
“Yeah, I’m a little worried that she’s like senile and stuff,” Hopp can be heard saying at one point.
Asked by a male officer, he said he did not read her Miranda rights.
Some 17 minutes into the video, Hopp appears to give a fist bump to Officer Daria Jalali, who had arrived at the original scene to help him arrest Garner. She is a co-defendant in the lawsuit, and they seem to give each other high marks on the interaction.
Asked by Jalali how it went, Hopp can be heard replying: “I thought it went great.”
“You do?” Jalali responded.
“Did you not?” he said. There was a brief pause. “Apparently, you did not.”
“No,” she said. “I did.”
Hopp says later: “We crushed it.” Jalali voiced concern she was not helping enough, but Hopp appears to support her.
“You were definitely fighting,” he said. “You are a lot tougher than she is. She’s just very flexible and very–” He covered his mouth to whisper something, then said, “Did you hear the pop? When I had her pushed against the car when you first got there? I was like, ‘Okay, you’re gonna play,’ and I was pushing, pushing, pushing, and I hear ‘pop,’ I was like ‘Oh, no.'”
“That’s going to turn into something,” Jalali said. “No doubt, with all the cars that stopped. There was more than just that guy.”
Later in the video, Hopp said, “I can’t believe I threw a 73-year-old on the ground.”
While bantering with a male officer, he said later that he was “proud” because it was the first time he got to use his hobble restraint.
“I was super excited,” he said, and recounted his version of what happened. “I was like ‘I’m fine, I can handle her. I mean it’s done, you know.’ I was like, ‘Alright, let’s wrestle girl! Let’s wreck it!'”
Hopp, Jalali, and the male officer begin watching the first’s body cam footage.
“Does she have flowers in her hand?” said Jalali.
“Yeah, she’s got flowers,” said Hopp.”
They continued to watch. “It’s like Live PD,” Jalali said, referring to the former reality TV show following police on patrol. (Law&Crime founder Dan Abrams was the host of Live PD.)
They continued to watch the footage, and bantered about her arrival at the arrest.
“Ready for the pop?” Hopp said. “Hear the pop?”
“What’d you pop?” said the male officer.
“I think it was her shoulder,” Hopp said.
The two continue to scrutinize the bodycam footage, as Jalali can be heard commenting “I hate this” and Hopp apparently chimes in: “This is great.”
Jalali left, apparently to check on Garner in a nearby cell. Hopp and the male officer fist bump while continuing to watch the footage. Jalali returned to report that Garner was “complaining that they’re really hurting her.”
For the dark subject matter, the officers’ tone appears lighthearted throughout the video. Around the mid-way point, one of the officers (apparently one of the guys) farted. Everyone chuckled.
“Right,” said Jalali. “I take that personally. Wow. Rude.”
The police department has said they only learned about “the allegations surrounding [Garner’s] arrest” on April 14. They said Hopp was placed on administrative leave. Jalali and lawsuit co-defendant Supervising officer Sgt. Philip Metzler are on administrative duties.
Law&Crime reached out for comment about the new surveillance footage.
“All matters related to the arrest of Loveland resident Karen Garner in June 2020 are subject to a criminal investigation, ordered by the 8th Judicial District Attorney and conducted by Fort Collins Police Services,” wrote Public Information Officer Tom Hacker in a statement. “The District Attorney’s action and the third-party investigation are in keeping with a multi-agency Critical Incident Response Team protocol. Independent comment from the Loveland Police Department would not be appropriate at this time. LPD has faith in the due process that this investigation allows for.”
[Screengrab via The Life & Liberty Law Office]
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