Police Abuse

Police Broke This 73-Year-Old Woman's Arm During a Brutal Arrest. The City Will Pay Her $3 Million.

Whether or not this constitutes meaningful accountability is up for debate.

|

The city of Loveland, Colorado, has agreed to pay $3 million to an elderly woman who was violently arrested by police last year.

Loveland Police Department (LPD) Officer Austin Hopp threw 73-year-old Karen Garner to the ground in June of 2020, fracturing her arm and dislocating her shoulder after she allegedly stole $13.88 worth of merchandise from Wal-Mart, according to a federal lawsuit. Garner, who suffers from dementia and sensory aphasia, was picking wildflowers on her walk home when Hopp approached her. The latter ailment is a result of brain damage and makes it difficult for those like Garner to communicate and process what others are saying.

"The settlement with Karen Garner will help bring some closure to an unfortunate event in our community but does not upend the work we have left to do. We extend a deep and heartfelt apology to Karen Garner and her family for what they have endured as a result of this arrest," Loveland City Manager Steve Adams said in a statement. "We know we did not act in a manner that upholds the values, integrity, and policies of the City and police department, and we are taking the necessary steps to make sure these actions are never repeated."

Body camera footage shows Hopp moving Garner to a squad car, pressing her down on the hood while forcibly pushing her contorted left arm—which was handcuffed behind her back—above her head. "We don't play this game," he says on the body camera footage. "You understand me?" You hear a pop, and she screams.

Hopp is now facing criminal charges, including second-degree assault. Former Officer Daria Jalali was charged with three misdemeanors: failure to report excessive use of force, failure to intervene in the use of excessive force, and first-degree official misconduct. Both officers resigned in April.

Additional video shows three cops—Hopp, Jalia, and Tyler Blackett—watching the footage the day they booked Garner. 

"Ready for the pop?" asks Hopp, as Jalia squirms and appears visibly uncomfortable. "Hear the pop?"

"What'd you pop?" asks Blackett. "I think it was her shoulder," responds Hopp, as he re-enacts the motion.

"I hate it," says Jalia.

"I love it," one of the male officers responds. Garner did not receive medical care for six hours after the ordeal, according to the suit. (Blackett later resigned.)

Loveland Police Chief Robert Ticer has claimed that the department was unaware of the extent of the brutality until the lawsuit became public, but the contents of an internal report released yesterday appear to directly contradict that, with documents showing that Assistant Chief of Police Ray Butler viewed the footage and said that Hopp's actions were "necessary, reasonable and within policy."

"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," Ticer said 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." He also said that department policy now requires an assistant city attorney and personnel from city of Loveland human resources to review use of force incidents, as opposed to just a member of the police force. Sarah Schielke, an attorney for the family, has called for his resignation.

"This settlement brings a measure of justice to the Garner family, but it does not deliver full justice," Schielke said during a Wednesday press conference. "Full justice to Karen Garner and this community will happen at the moment that every individual who participated in this atrocity and who fostered the conditions and culture that made its happening possible is held accountable."

Police accountability has been a mainstay of the public debate around law-enforcement reform for the last year, beginning in late May of 2020, not long before Garner's arrest. But Garner's story wouldn't come to light for several months, until April of this year, when Garner filed her suit.

Whether or not this constitutes meaningful accountability is up for debate. While it is remarkably rare that police officers are convicted of criminal wrongdoing, two have been charged here, which is also uncommon in itself. Garner's settlement was approved by the city, which means it will be financed by taxpayers and no officers involved will have to weather a civil court trial. Colorado is one of a few states to strip officers of qualified immunity, a legal doctrine that shields certain government officials from lawsuits if the precise way they allegedly misbehaved has not yet been ruled unconstitutional in a prior court ruling.

That law was passed the day before Garner's brutal arrest. Though she will not confront the alleged culprits in civil court—perhaps an indication from the city of just how much of a legal loser their case was—she will receive just compensation, which is more than many victims of government abuse can say

NEXT: America’s Post-9/11 Surveillance Authorities Were Inevitably Turned Against Its Own Citizens

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Former Officer Daria Jalali was charged with three misdemeanors: failure to report excessive use of force, failure to intervene in the use of excessive force, and first-degree official misconduct.

    It must be difficult being a police officer.

    The whole point is to do whatever you want, because no one will stop you. That especially includes other cops. So if you’re a cop and you intervene or report excessive force, you’re going to be forced out of the job and blacklisted. But if your failure to intervene or report excessive force makes the news you’re totally fucked.

    Poor cops. Can’t catch a break.

    1. There are good doctors and there are bad doctors. They rarely rat each other out.
      There are good teachers and there are bad teachers. They rarely rat each other out.
      Most police officers are good people doing a difficult and often dangerous job. Doctors and teachers rarely get shot while performing their jobs correctly.
      As with doctors and teachers, the bad need to be identified and removed.
      The good need to be rewarded and respected.

      1. I’m going to disagree with you there. Not tolerating the bad doctors/teachers/cops is a necessary part of being a good doctor/teacher/cop.

        A cop who ignores misconduct by other cops is not a good cop.

        1. Find USA Online Jobs (800$-95000$ Weekly) safe and secure! Easy Access To Information. Simple in use. All the Answers. Multiple sources combined.NBx Fast and trusted. Discover us now! Easy & Fast, 99% Match……

          Start now……………. VISIT HERE

        2. There are good teachers and bad teachers… – Call Me Don

          Some teach in private schools and others teach in government schools.

          Matt S: +1

          1. Start making money this time… Spend more time with your family & relatives by doing jobs that only require you to have a computer and an internet access and you can have that at your home. Start bringing up to $65,000 to $70,000 a month. I’ve started this job and earn a handsome income and now I am exchanging it with you, so you can do it too.

            Here is I started.…………… VISIT HERE

      2. Being a cop barely makes the list of the top 25 dangerous jobs. The vast vast vast majority of cops will never even draw their gun in a 20 year career.

    2. Not if you are honest

    3. Hold on. Your reaction to the brutal arrest of a 73-year old woman with dementia receiving a settlement that was certainly deserved is to sympathize with the offending police officers? Way more bootlickers on this site than I thought.

  2. Blue state, blue county, blue city.

    There’s a pattern ya know

    1. Show me a city that isn’t deep blue. Seriously. City dwellers seem to trust guvmint lots more than ruralites.

    2. Blue state: True
      Blue County: Debatable
      Blue City: No

      This is a town of around 80,000 people within a county of 400k. Loveland’s city council is largely non-aligned but it sends republicans to the state legislature. Larimer County was quite republican until the mid 2000s when it started trending blue. But that is largely due to Fort Collins- Loveland is a red-holdout.

      No matter how you look at it, this corrupt police force is not an example of a deep blue city corruption. This was a rural cow town 20 years ago.

  3. beware the eggshell victim of administrative assault.

    1. Yep. And the hair-trigger temper a lot of LEOs have on the job.

      Elijah McCain comes to mind. I get that working with the general public can be aggravating, but eight seconds before going hands on seems a bit hasty.

      Use of force is going to be ugly on camera, no matter how justified. (I’ve no idea if the arrest here was or not.) And it is a mortal sin in post-2020 America to be ugly on camera.

  4. Good news for her, bad news for the taxpayers, but glad two cops are facing charges. They should have been forced to pay themselves though in a real civil suit. I wonder if they’re still getting pensions too, despite resigning. I’m going to go out on a limb and say yes.

  5. jeff says if cops were required to pay for insurance similar to doctors’ malpractice insurance, and payouts came from that insurance, the market would weed out the bad guys pretty quick.

    But since jeff says it it must be a bad idea.

    1. not bad, except the Insured are entirely more reckless because insurance

      1. Er, what?

        1. If you know the collision you just caused literally comes out of your pocket and not GEICO’s you’ll put the phone down & 10-2 the wheel …

          1. Hit Arrest and run?

            Still not following.

            1. If you know the arm you just broke on Grandma is covered by GEICO you won’t think twice about breaking it.

              1. If every “accident” causes your insurance to go up, and too many “accidents” will result in unaffordable insurance, you might have an incentive to avoid “accidents.”

                1. none of those things happen anymore though. *some* insurance company will always take the premium monies and risk the potential payouts

                  1. The problem with your argument is that cops already do not pay themselves. The state or city government does that. Making mandatory insurance rates based on individual cops’ records and risk factors would be a good thing, imo.

    2. I have argued against this logic not because Jeff, but because it is wrong.

      Do market forces work on government agencies to weed out incompetent or expensive contractors? Or, perhaps, are the incentives of government actors not exactly aligned with getting the best value for the dollar?

      So long as we have police unions with the power that they have, the costs of civil suits will continue to be passed onto the tax payer. If you think Police Unions will ever accept Police Officers paying for their own insurance, or insurance rates being dependent on an officer’s previous behavior, you are nuts. They will get the tax payer to fund insurance pools just like health insurance pools where every officer pays the same rate and the majority of the cost is born by taxpayer contributions.

      I fully agree that Qualified Immunity ought to go. But this article alone demonstrates why it isn’t a panacea. The city will continue to be the main payor of these lawsuits since they have the taxpayer money, and the police unions will ensure that even the costs to the officer are born by the taxpayer.

      1. There is no panacea. But that doesn’t mean imperfect solutions aren’t worth trying.

        1. Qualified immunity should go– for a whole host of reasons, and it needs to go for all public sector employees, which includes teachers, social workers and the Mayor.

          But not because it will shield taxpayers from the costs… or put the officer in the courtroom. Those thing won’t be achieved:

          Garner’s settlement was approved by the city, which means it will be financed by taxpayers and no officers involved will have to weather a civil court trial.

          We already know, and Reason has not only acknowledged, but actually argued that ending QI won’t cost the officer a dime because indemnification.

        2. Police Unions are the reason bad cops are difficult to be fired. Police Unions are the reason tax payers are forced to pay for those bad cops. Ending QI will actually make the problem worse by allowing plaintiffs to get MORE money from the taxpayers (the civil suit against the city and the one against the cops).

          There is definitely a cost to not focusing on the real problem: public sector unions that are preventing real necessary reforms in our government. Binion instead seems obsessed with QI, to the exclusion of Union reform, which will have a very real consequence if we spend a finite amount of political capital on the wrong reform.

          1. End QI for cops and end all public sector labor unions. Then make cops pay for their own liability insurance or put up a bond.

            1. Sounds good to me, though I would advise ending public sector unions first.

              You should focus on the most valuable first- and getting public sector unions bagged (or defanging them) will pay far more dividends while working on QI.

            2. I’m 100% on board with this. I’m guessing the possibility of this being a reality is near to zero.

    3. So neither you nor jeffy understand what insurance is?

      Doctors’ buy malpractice insurance because a single claim has the potential to exceed their ability to pay. It is paid for out of their practice and included in the pricing. The risk is spread out over time, but the cost will likely never be less than the total losses. Very few are dumb enough to cancel their policy after they have a claim and are ahead on the insurance.

      Cops are paid for out of the public coffers. The taxpayer can pay for insurance, which will likely exceed the cost of the claims, or pay the claims directly. But it is probably moot as many police departments would be uninsurable. Only the ones with few and small claims would gain any benefit from a risk pool.

      You were right about it being a bad idea.

    4. He’s repeating the idea I’ve floated here for years.

  6. The irony is the $3 mil will be paid by the working, mostly likely, law abiding citizens of the town. The Government criminals will pay nothing, They will be hired by some other town and carry on like it never happened

    1. “They will be hired by some other town and carry on like it never happened”
      At least this information will follow their policing career forever, and the citizens in the new town will be on notice.
      So many other cop miscreants get anonymity, and their misdeeds covered up by cop boards.

      1. Really? You mean there’s a “Bad Cop” registry? Where can I find it?

        1. I think it’s called either “youtube” or “teh internets” – Some are able to hide, but less and less.

  7. These payouts should come from the police pension.

    1. That will never happen. Making them get insurance instead of a guaranteed payout from their employer might make a difference. And be feasible too.

      1. You’re starting to listen to me.

        Good.

  8. Police Broke This 73-Year-Old Woman’s Arm During a Brutal Arrest. The City Will Pay Her $3 Million.

    Well, they’ll be paying somebody $3 Million. Since the old lady appears to be non compos mentis, I’d guess probably her crackhead grandson and his crackhead girlfriend are going to split the $3 million with the ambulance-chasing shyster who cooked up the lawsuit and quickly agreed to a settlement because he desperately needed the money to buy some crack. Two months from now, if you pay attention, you’ll be able to read a story about how the old woman was found starving and badly beaten and locked in a closet by her crackhead grandson and his crackhead girlfriend who’ve gone through the entire settlement buying crack.

    But then, I’m cynical that way.

    1. Is there a report about the grandson or girlfriend being a crackhead? At the very least, in the FOP newsletter? Or is this guesswork?

    2. Is that a JG Wentworth commercial I hear?

    3. This is more rural, so it is more likely methheads than crack. Or good ol fashion drunks.

  9. This doesn’t affect them one bit.

    Fuck that. They broke her arm, I say their arms should be broken.

  10. The city is not paying anything us tax payers are.

    This isn’t the first incident of our city cops ignoring rights and taxpayers paying for it.

    1. That’s the true difference between government and private citizens. Private parties pay restitution to those that they wrong. Governments make the wronged pay restitution to themselves.

  11. I don’t know if this is a crime under Colorado law, but if not it’s lawful-but-awful.

    Does this guy get a chubby attacking old women with dementia? I normally wouldn’t ask, but when he watches the video and chortles over it, one does have to ask.

    1. He’s *very* sad over how incredibly tiny his penis is. Which is why he beats up old women. It gives him a strapping nine millimeters of raging hardon.

  12. I don’t understand why a woman with dementia is out roaming around on her own. Where was the family???

  13. Three million dollars here, millions elsewhere because city don’t keep tabs on police and keep them doing their job correctly. Would a company accept this kind of lose from bad employees? Would government accept this loses for any other group of employees? Policework is tough, but incidents like this do not make it easier. I would much rather see the money going out in lawsuits going into better training.

  14. There are bad cops that give good cops a bad name

  15. Not if you are honest

  16. It is definitely not accountability because the town is just paying it out of tax revenue, there is no real lost.

    The cops facing charges can be said to be held accountable, but the town leaders never will be

  17. Would government accept this loses for any other group of employees?
    Download Ardab Mutiyaran full movie from Moviestandor

  18. Didn’t we see a cop from this department kill an innocent dog last week? Hope the dog’s owners take the city to the cleaners on that, too.

  19. o cops misbehave and the taxpayers are punished? Yup. Sounds fair. NOT!!

    Why not make cops INDIVIDUALLY responsible for their actions? Maybe take out bonds or an insurance policy against their potential misbehavior. Cops with a bad record, if not dismissed, would pay more.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.