Loveland, CO – The City of Loveland has agreed to pay a $3 million settlement to a 73-year-old woman with dementia after she was injured during a shoplifting arrest in 2020.
The settlement agreement was announced on Wednesday, KUSA reported.
Garner was arrested in June of 2020 after allegedly stealing $14 worth of items from a Walmart store, according to KCNC.
She was taken to the ground during the arrest, which the lawsuit claimed left her with a sprained wrist, dislocated shoulder, and a broken humerus, KUSA reported.
Garner was transported to Loveland police headquarters and did not receive medical care for several hours, according to KCNC.
Loveland Assistant Police Chief Ray Butler reviewed the bodycam footage and images from Garner’s arrest and concluded on Aug. 10, 2020, that the officers’ use of force was “necessary, reasonable, and within policy,” KCNC reported.
Sarah Schielke, the attorney representing Garner, filed the federal lawsuit in April.
Loveland Police Chief Bob Ticer said he had not been made aware of any allegations of excessive force pertaining to Garner’s arrest prior to finding out about the lawsuit, KCNC reported.
The lawsuit also accuses Loveland Police Sergeant Phil Metzler of trying to delete bodycam footage of Garner’s arrest, according to KCNC.
Schielke said records she obtained pertained to a bodycam video that was originally dated June 24, 2030.
According to the records, Sgt. Metzler deleted the 2030 date on July 16, 2020, and saved the footage as June 26, 2021, KUSA reported.
Schielke alleged the alteration was an attempt to hide the video.
Loveland Police Officer Austin Hopp and Daria Jalali, the officers who arrested Garner, resigned from the department in April, the Loveland Reporter-Herald reported.
Loveland Community Service Officer Tyler Blackett, who helped book Garner into jail, also resigned.
Hopp and Jalali were both criminally charged in the weeks that followed.
Hopp, 26, turned himself in at the Larimer County Jail in Fort Collins on May 20, just hours before Jalali, 27, followed suit, the Loveland Reporter-Herald reported.
He faces charges of felony second-degree assault of an at-risk adult, felony attempt to influence a public servant, and misdemeanor first-degree official misconduct.
Jalali faces charges of misdemeanor failure to report an excessive use of force, misdemeanor failure to intervene in the use of excessive force, and misdemeanor first-degree official misconduct, the Loveland Reporter-Herald reported.
Loveland City Manager Steve Adams said he hopes the settlement, which did not include an admission of liability, will help bring Garner some closure.
“The settlement with Karen Garner will help bring some closure to an unfortunate event in our community but does not upend the work we have left to do,” Adams told KUSA. “We extend a deep and heartfelt apology to Karen Garner and her family for what they have endured as a result of this arrest.”
“We know we did not act in a manner that upholds the values, integrity, and policies of the City and police department, and we are taking the necessary steps to make sure these actions are never repeated,” he added.
Chief Ticer said he agrees that the officers used excessive force during Garner’s arrest.
“There is no excuse, under any circumstances, for what happened to Ms. Garner,” he told KUSA. “We have agreed on steps we need to take to begin building back trust. While these actions won’t change what Ms. Garner experienced, they will serve to improve this police department and hopefully restore faith that the LPD exists to serve those who live in and visit Loveland.”
The Loveland Police Department (LPD) has adopted many changes in light of the incident, to include an updated use-of-force review process, expanding the department’s mental health co-responder program, and establishing outreach programs for residents to communicate with command staff more easily, KUSA reported.