Two other Loveland, Colorado, police officers and a sergeant were put on administrative leave after the arrest of a 73-year-old woman with dementia – an encounter that is now the subject of a criminal investigation.
Constable Austin Hopp was put on leave earlier this month after a federal lawsuit accused him and a second officer of injuring Karen Garner during the arrest on June 26, 2020, which was captured on body camera video.
Garner suffered a dislocated shoulder, a fractured arm and a sprained wrist after being punched to the ground, tied up and then placed in the back of a police car, according to the costume.
She was walking home when she was arrested for allegedly trying to steal items worth $ 13.88 from a Walmart. Garner’s attorney, Sarah Schielke, said her client suffered from dementia and sensory aphasia, which compromises her ability to communicate verbally with people or understand the communications of others.
Schielke said that due to dementia Garner forgot to pay for the items, which were collected by Walmart employees.
On Tuesday, the Loveland City Director’s Office announced that Officers Tyler Blackett and Daria Jalali, as well as Sergeant Philip Metzler, were also on administrative leave, NBC affiliate KUSA of Denver reported. It was not immediately clear whether the leave was paid.
Jalali was the agent intervening in Garner’s arrest and Metzler was the supervisor who arrived at the scene, according to the lawsuit.
A police spokesperson told KUSA that Blackett was at the reservation location where Garner was transported and that he was also engaged in the transfer of Garner to the Larimer County Jail.
The disciplinary action comes days after Schielke posted a video of three Loveland officers laughing at Garner’s arrest.
The footage comes from a Loveland Police Department camera and includes captions that have not been verified by NBC News.
In it, Hopp says he thought the arrest went “very well. The officer, along with two other people, then watch the body camera video. Hopp asks,” Ready for the pop? “seemingly referring to the moment he dislocated Garner’s shoulder.
Schielke said she obtained the video after her client was charged with theft, resisting arrest and obstruction. The charges were subsequently dismissed, she said.
The Loveland Police Department said on Wednesday that the actions of officers during the arrest were now subject to a criminal investigation by District Attorney Gordon McLaughlin and the Fort Collins Police Department.
McLaughlin said in a statement he would consider officers’ comments on the arrest, as well as other evidence, in making his charge decision.
McLaughlin went on to say he will ask investigators “to interview all relevant witnesses and assess the relevance of the charges to anyone whose facts indicate they may be criminally guilty.”
The four officers could not be reached at the phone numbers listed for them on Thursday, and it is not clear whether they have secured a lawyer. The Fraternal Order of Police did not immediately return a request for comment.