LOVELAND, Colo. (KDVR) — A rally demanding justice for Karen Garner, a 73-year-old woman with dementia who was arrested by Loveland Police officers last year, began around noon in front of the police department on Saturday.
Hundreds of people indicated they planned on attending. They also want every law enforcement and city official who knew of the incident, but did not take action, to be fired or quit.
“This is not going to be a demonstration that elicits violence,” Jen Castaneda said, who helped to organize the event. “We really want the community to come together and show we are a community. We want to bring the love back to Loveland.”
In body camera footage from the suspected shoplifting arrest on June 26, 2020, Officer Austin Hopp approached Garner and questioned her about leaving Walmart. She repeatedly replied, “I’m going home.”
Within a few seconds, she is handcuffed on the ground and a second officer arrives on scene.
Garner is walked to the patrol car in cuffs. Then both officers take her out of the patrol vehicle, put her on the ground, and proceed to use restraints to tie her feet together.
Three officers involved in the arrest resigned on Friday. Loveland’s police chief said the officers were no longer employed with the department in a press conference. “We failed and we are very sorry for what happened,” Loveland Police Chief Robert Ticer said.
“This is unacceptable. Sergeant Antolina Hill, who heard Karen cry out in pain
from the cell and who also personally read Hopp’s use of force report and notarized it,
remains on duty,” Karen Garner’s attorney Sarah Schielke said in a statement.
The Garner family said they are disappointed with the chief’s handling of the situation and that he “repeatedly dodged questions regarding our family. He made no reference to Karen personally.”