LOVELAND, Colo. (KDVR) — Attorney Sarah Schielke announced an amended lawsuit following the release of new video from the arrest of a 73-year-old woman with dementia in June 2020.
Earlier this month, the Loveland civil rights attorney at The Life & Liberty Law Office filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Loveland Police Department and three officers on the behalf of Karen Garner.
Schielke’s original lawsuit claims violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as claims against the Loveland Police Department for failing to train regarding the use of force on disabled, unarmed citizens.
Garner suffered a dislocated shoulder and a fractured wrist during her arrest, according to her attorney.
The officer’s initial arrest report claimed Garner had no injuries. Loveland Police Department said they were unaware Garner was injured until the lawsuit.
Two more officers were added to the lawsuit, totaling five officers named in the case.
Shielke said the officers’ actions in the police department indicate a police culture in trouble.
“There’s no way it’s just one rogue officer. It’s definitely a cultural problem. There’s going to be some very dysfunctional stuff going on in the department,” said Shielke.
The mayor of Loveland told FOX31 hundreds of people have contacted her saying firings need to take place.
However she and the council only have authority over the city manger who oversees the chief.
“They’d have to go through our police chief and I’m not sure how their language works between their agreement but he could certainly bring pressure to bare,” said Loveland Mayor Jacki Marsh.
Garner’s attorney said Garner’s family hired a sound engineer to enhance the audio on Loveland police station booking videos from the day of Garner’s arrest.
On Monday, the attorney for Garner released an amended lawsuit, saying the booking video proves officers knew Garner was injured.
Forty-five minutes into the booking video, three officers are seen huddled together, watching the body warn camera video.
At one point, the female officer says, “can you stop it now?” One of the male officers responds, “Ready for the pop? Hear the pop?”
The other male officer responds, saying, “what’d you pop?”
The male officer responds, “I think it was her shoulder.”
As the video continues, the female officer visibly hides her face with her hat and hands. At one point she says, “I hate this.”
One of the male officers responds to her saying, “What?” She responds again saying, “I hate this.” The male officer follows up with laughter saying, “I love it.”
In response to the revelations seen in the booking area videos, Schielke, the attorney for Garner and her family shared, “This is utterly disgusting. These videos cannot be unseen or unheard. I am sorry to have to share them with the public. This will be traumatic and deeply upsetting for everyone to see. But as it often goes with bad police departments, it seems this is the only way to make them change. They have to be exposed. If I didn’t release this, the Loveland Police’s toxic culture of arrogance and entitlement, along with their horrific abuse of the vulnerable and powerless, would carry on, business as usual. I won’t be a part of that.”
“Loveland knew. They’ve known all along,” Schielke continues. “They failed Karen Garner. They
failed the community. And they did it all on camera. Do you realize how horrifying that is? That means they were used to getting away with it. That the comfortable norm in Loveland is one of zero
accountability. That this is not just some ‘isolated incident.’ It is not just one single ‘problem.’ It is
widespread, sociopathic criminality. And to attempt to shift the burden to Karen, or a bystander, or
her family, or counsel, to report this? Shame on you, Loveland. You took an oath to protect and serve. This is a disgrace.”
Garner’s family will release an updated statement on Tuesday.
A spokesperson for the Loveland Police Department released the following statement Monday morning:
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.
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.