Loveland selects firm to investigate Karen Garner arrest

Local News

The same firm looked into police actions after Breonna Taylor's and George Floyd's deaths

FILE – This undated file photo provided by Allisa Swartz, shows Karen Garner, a 73-year-old Colorado woman with dementia, whose family is suing Loveland, Colo., and three of its police officers over her arrest in June 2020. The three Colorado police officers involved in the arrest of Garner who was shown being pushed to the ground and handcuffed on body camera footage have resigned, police said Friday, April 30, 2021. (Allisa Swartz via AP, File)

LOVELAND, Colo. (KDVR) — Loveland has selected the consulting firm hired to look into police actions after Breonna Taylor’s and George Floyd’s deaths to investigate the arrest of Karen Garner, the woman with dementia whose arm was broken during an arrest.

The city said Hillard Heintze, a law enforcement and public safety consulting firm, will conduct an “independent professional standards investigation” into Garner’s arrest and assess the police department’s policies, practices and procedures.

“Engaging in an independent review of this incident is an important step to ensure trust and credibility in our police practices,” said Loveland City Manager Steve Adams. “Accountability is essential and we feel the urgency to move forward with this experienced consulting firm to better understand how to move forward.”

Loveland said cities selected the same firm to look into the Louisville Metro Police Department after Breonna Taylor’s death and the City of Minneapolis’ response to the George Floyd protests there. They also have made police assessments in Denver in Boulder.

The city will pay the firm up to $152,500 for the job and is already at work interviewing people and evaluating the officers’ actions alongside the police department’s policies and procedures.

There will also be community forums planned during the summer.

Their work could take up to two months to finish, the city said.

Once the internal investigation is over, the firm will spend another three to four months working with the city and police department to help develop the department’s future. The process will include interviews with councilors, “key city stakeholders,” police staff and community members.

Loveland maintains a website with the latest information on the Garner case. You can find that here.

Garner’s arrest came to light after she filed an excessive-force lawsuit. In the arrest, offficers broke her arm and dislocated her shoulder while trying to detain her on accusations of trying to shoplift from a Walmart. Ultimately, two officers lost their jobs and were charged with crimes in the case.

Court records show the lawyers in that federal lawsuit are set for mediation on July 7.

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