Loveland residents give city manager, city council, earful over Karen Garner arrest

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LOVELAND, Colo. (KDVR) — Public outcry continues in Loveland over the forceful arrest of Karen Garner, a 73-year-old woman with dementia.

City Manager Steve Adams addressed council members during a regularly scheduled Loveland City Council special meeting Tuesday evening. The incident was not included in the meeting’s official agenda.

“I found the video very difficult to watch,” Adams said in a prepared statement. “I found the actions captured in this video deeply troubling.”

Loveland council members who spoke with FOX31 prior to the meeting expressed concern over the arrest. They heard from angry residents late Tuesday.

“While I’m furious at the officers, I’m also furious at you all as city council members,” one resident said during the virtual public comment period. “This is a culture in the police department that you all are allowing to continue.”

Council members who spoke out during the meeting were split on the appropriateness of council members commenting publicly amid ongoing investigations.

“What are we going to be doing to change the culture,” Councilwoman Andrea Samson asked.

Councilman Rob Molloy echoed Samson’s thoughts.

“I’m very disappointed in the way the city operates right now,” Molloy said.

“The ultimate goal is not to unite but to divide, and that’s what I’m seeing and it’s unfortunate,” Councilman Dave Clark said while criticizing comments from Samson and Molloy.

Garner was accused of leaving a Walmart without paying for some items in June. Shortly after Garner left the Walmart, body cam footage shows an officer stopped her and forcefully arrested her.

Prosecutors did not effort a criminal case against Garner. A criminal investigation has been launched into the police conduct.

Council members said they have been flooded with calls for the officers to be fired. The outrage continues after video, released on Monday by Garner’s lawyer, appears to show police making light of Garner’s injuries as they watch their body worn camera footage following the incident.

Five Loveland officers and the department are named in a federal lawsuit over Garner’s arrest. A city council member called for an executive session with the city manager on Tuesday night demanding answers. He did not receive enough support on council for that session to occur on Tuesday.

The fallout comes after it was reported in January that Loveland settled an excessive force lawsuit against the city and four officers. Garner’s attorney, Sarah Schielke, was also involved in that case stemming from 2019. In that incident, a man alleged police injured him after he refused to talk to police following a collision.

At least one council member expressed interest in establishing a Civilian Review Board over police affairs. The mayor said she is trying to create a public review process to determine if officers should be liable for the first $25,000 if a court decides an officer was not acting in good faith.

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