ACLU points to Loveland arrest of Karen Garner as need for reform

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LOVELAND, Colo. (KDVR) — The fallout continues in Loveland over the arrest of a 73-year-old woman with dementia. Police reform activists are responding to newly released video showing officers making light of the Garner’s injuries that her attorney alleges were sustained during the forceful arrest. The video was released to media by Garner’s attorney.

As Garner was in her cell— after being accused of stealing from Walmart— officers are just outside the cell. One is heard through enhanced audio talking about a potential injury Garner suffered.

“Did you hear the pop,” the officer can be heard saying. “When I had her against the car when you first got there … I was like okay you’re gonnna play, and I was pushing, pushing, pushing— I hear pop.”

Garner’s attorney said the popping sound is Garner’s shoulder being dislocated. Officers also appear to make light of the situation and laugh as they watch the body worn video. Meanwhile, Garner received no medical attention during this time.

Denise Maes, public policy director for the ACLU of Colorado, described the power dynamic and disregard for Garner as a symptom of a larger problem in policing. She said reform is needed.

“Generally speaking, police are trained to arrest,” Maes said.

The ACLU is pushing for Colorado Senate Bill 62 that would prevent police from arresting people for low-level, nonviolent crimes like the one Garner was accused of committing.

“[SB-62 would ensure], for certain offenses, that police not arrest and they simply provide a summons or a citation,” Maes said.

The new video from outside the holding cell comes as a total of five officers are now named in a federal lawsuit targeting Loveland Police.

Loveland leaders have received hundreds of calls and emails demanding the officers be fired, the city said. In Loveland, the city manager is the police chief’s boss. FOX31 asked for comment from City Manager Stephen C. Adams, but comment was not provided for this story.

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