Two Colorado cops were caught on camera laughing and joking how they arrested and manhandled a 73-year-old female dementia patient during a brutal arrest that left the ailing woman with broken bones and a dislocated arm, newly released bodycam footage reveal. And they were celebrating all while as the elderly woman continued to suffer in jail.
Loveland Police Officers Austin Hopp and Daria Jalali had arrested Karen Garner on June 26, 2020, after she left Walmart forgetting to pay for a candy bar, a can of Pepsi and a t-shirt totaling $13.38. The store, didn't realize that the Garner suffered from dementia and thought that she was shoplifting, following which the officers were informed.
Ruthless and Inhuman
The newly released video shows Hopp and Jalai reviewing the bodycam footage of the arrest of Garner, wherein they are seen mocking joking and celebrating despite knowing that she was a dementia patient and only forgot to pay her bills because of her medical condition.
"Ready for the pop? Hear the pop?" one of the officers asks in apparent reference to Garner's contorting limbs. "I think it was her shoulder," he says as they giggle over the video images of Garner being taken into custody.
Body-cam footage released this month shows Hopp tracking Garner after being reported by the store. He found Garner walking home but the very next moment confronts her and gets aggressive. Hopp is seen forcing the terrified woman to the ground after she refused to stop walking away from him, while Jalali handcuffed her and slammed her to a police vehicle, according to the video. A concerned citizen can be seen stopping by the side of the road to ask Hopp if so much force was necessary.
Garner's family says she forgot to pay because of her condition. The store didn't realize that but later confirmed it had recovered the items and hadn't lost any money. The footage of the arrest went viral on social media after its release earlier the month in the wake of a new lawsuit against the department.
Police Brutality Continues
Interestingly, Garner returned all the items at an employee's request, but the officers still arrested her on the road picking flowers as she told them repeatedly, "I'm going home!" In a video of the inside of the Loveland police station that was released on Monday, the officers can be seen making cruel comments as they rewatch footage of them using force and arresting the septuagenarian.
The video of the two officers throughout is not only disturbing but also leaves a bad taste in the mouth about the attitude of cops in the United States. When one officer at the desk says, "I hate this," another responds, "I love it."
"I can't believe I threw a 73-year-old on the ground," Hopp says.
"It's just like live TV," Jalai responds. "Body-cams are my favorite thing to watch, I could watch livestream body-cams all day."
That said, Garner's family has now filed a lawsuit against the Walmart store. The suit says during the first hour Garner was in custody, she said: "They hurt my shoulders" 22 times and "They hurt my wrists" 13 times. Garner wasn't also given any medical treatment. Instead, the case's supervising officer, Sgt. Phil Metzler, who also is under investigation, knew Garner was injured and still allowed her to be kept in a holding pen with no care.
The video of Garner's arrest went viral earlier this month and the outrage over the clip was so intense that state prosecutors launched a criminal investigation into Hopp, Jalali and Metzler last week. Hopp has placed on leave earlier this month and the charges against Garner have been dismissed.
The latest video of Hoop and Jalili laughing and celebrating Garner's arrest while reviewing the bodycam footage only makes the case stronger against the two officers. In the caption of her YouTube video on Monday, attorney Sarah Schielke wrote that the officers made their commentary while Garner "remained handcuffed to a bench in a cell just 10 feet away from them, alone, confused and crying in pain. She would ultimately go over six hours without any medical attention."
'"The video reveals a grotesque culture of callous disregard for the health and safety of citizens," Schielke wrote.
Police use of force has come under intense scrutiny following the murder conviction of white former police officer Derek Chauvin last week for the killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man. Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes, suffocating him.