Investigation into dementia patient’s arrest expected to be presented to DA mid-May

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Karen Garner arrest video footage (from Loveland Police Department)

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (KDVR) — The independent investigation into Karen Garner’s arrest by Loveland police that resulted in serious injury is expected to be completed by mid-May.

The investigation was launched by the 8th Judicial District Critical Incident Response Team on April 19 and is being conducted by Fort Collins Police Services.

Investigators have been gathering information from more than 20 witnesses, reviewing hours of video and digging into all evidence and documentation involved from the time Garner was in Walmart to her booking at the Larimer County Jail and medical records following the incident.

“Detectives have been tasked with conducting a thorough and professional investigation that leaves no stone unturned. That is what our community expects and deserves,” District Attorney Gordon McLaughlin said. “This requires independent information gathering, forensic processing, and coordination of resources. Timeliness of the investigation is important, but we cannot sacrifice accurateness or dependability for speed. I am confident that this is necessary depth of work will provide reliable answers to the community about this incident.”

On June 26, 2020, Garner was arrested after leaving a nearby Walmart where employees thought she was stealing several items. Video from inside the store shows employees confronting her and her removing one of their face masks.

Officer Austin Hopp can be heard saying, “Ma’am, I don’t think you want to play it this way,” as he appears to stop his patrol vehicle and approach Garner in bodycam footage obtained from the arrest.

“You just left Walmart, do you need to be arrested right now?” Hopp asked. “I’m going home,” Garner responded repeatedly.

Within a few seconds, she is on the ground being handcuffed and moments later Officer Daria Jalali arrives on scene.

Garner is walked to the patrol car in cuffs, repeatedly saying, “I’m going home.” Both officers take Garner out of the patrol vehicle, put her on the ground, and proceed to use restraints to tie her feet together.

The officer’s initial arrest report claimed Garner had no injuries. Loveland Police Department said they were unaware Garner was injured until the lawsuit.

The internal review of the incident and how it was handled by the Loveland Police Department is being managed by the City of Loveland’s Human Resource team and an outside
consultant.

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