Former Loveland police officer involved in arrest of woman with dementia back in court

Local News

LOVELAND, Colo. (KDVR) — One of the former Loveland police officers facing charges in the arrest of a woman with dementia was back in court Tuesday afternoon. Austin Hopp said nothing during his first advisement. 

But the victim’s family attorney did address the judge and made it clear they want this case to move forward without any delays.

“One of family’s main priorities right now is they desperately want to see justice for their mother during their mother’s lifetime and with her dementia, diagnosis and declining health, that’s a real concern here,” said Sarah Schielke. 

Hopp is out on bond, facing charges of second-degree assault, official misconduct and attempting to influence a public official nearly a year after the rough arrest of 73-year-old Karen Garner, a woman with dementia.  

“She is not who she was before and with how hard it is with COVID protocols, with dementia – a really devastating illness it is already, it’s really been impossible to make any headway back from what was done in this case,” Shielke said. 

Now is the time for change according to Jen Castaneda, one of the founders of the Loveland Justice League, formed after videos of Garner’s arrest were made public.

“We want to support Karen Garner. We want to find out what is going on in our city that we are unaware of. As we started to understand and learn more and collect data, we recognize there is quite a bit of corruption going on in our city. We just felt it was necessary to get involved and do community outreach,” Castaneda said.

Her group has already organized one protest and a petition drive to bring about changes in the city’s leadership.

“Part of our organization will be a focus on community outreach, reaching out to our community, talking about the matters of our city and asking questions and informing people of what is actually taking place. It’s really important to us to partner with other organizations that are currently established in our area that are also fighting for justice and equal rights. As we started understanding the need, we recognized we need some different educational standards and resources to our police to help them get educated. Certainly our organization is not an anti-police organization. We are an organization that is community outreach based. But we also are going to hold our city accountable and ask the tough questions that need to be asked of our leaders. We don’t have a lot of trust or faith right now in what is happening in our local government, it is critical we get involved in our community,” added Castaneda. 

Hopp is scheduled to be back in court on June 24. The judge acknowledged that cases can take some time to get resolved, but she said she was going to keep an eye on this case. 

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