Brutal arrest left 73-year-old mentally ill woman with a broken arm and dislocated shoulder: lawsuit

A law office has filed a lawsuit over the arrest last summer of a 73-year-old Colorado woman who suffers from dementia -- an arrest that Karen Garner's attorney said was "a nightmare," the Times-Call reports.

The lawsuit alleges excessive force was used by Loveland Police Department officers Austin Hopp, Daria Jalali and Sgt. Phil Metzler. Garner, who is 5 feet tall and 80 pounds, suffered a broken upper arm and dislocated shoulder during the arrest, along with other injuries.

The lawsuit says that on June 26, 2020, Officer Hopp "violently assaulted Garner without provocation" as she was walking home from a Walmart in east Loveland. Garner, who the suit says suffers from dementia and sensory aphasia, which impairs her ability to communicate and understand, left the store without paying for $13.38 worth of items.

Garner was stopped by Hopp as she walked home. When she signaled that she did not understand him, the lawsuit says Hopp restrained Garner and "violently assaulted her, twisting her arms behind her back, throwing her to the ground and handcuffing her."

Jalali then assisted Hopp with the arrest. Metzler, who later appeared on scene, approved of the arrest, the lawsuit says, and allowed Garner to be "denied access to medical care for her injuries afterward,"

Court documents also allege that Garner was held at department headquarters for several hours while crying out in pain. Police later took Garner to the Larimer County Jail in Fort Collins and allegedly did not give jail deputies any explanation of why Garner had "complained of pain, been involved in a severe use-of-force incident, was obviously mentally ill, and clearly needed medical evaluation before being further isolated in a cell."

Loveland Police Department spokesperson Tom Hacker said the department learned about the incident on Wednesday through a Facebook post and is investigating it.

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