Cops Tackled A Grandma With Dementia Picking Flowers, Bodycam Footage Shows

A cou­ple of days ago, I quot­ed Martin Niemoller in an arti­cle. In light of the police vio­lence being report­ed dai­ly in America and the resul­tant silence from cer­tain seg­ments of the white pop­u­la­tion on the one hand, and the mind­less igno­rance on the part of others.
First, they came for the social­ists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade union­ists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.
The fol­low­ing sto­ry prompt­ed me to use mis­ter Niemoller’s famous quote once again to dri­ve home the idea that we are all in this togeth­er. That injus­tice to any human being any­where is a threat to jus­tice to all of us everywhere.

A 73-year-old grand­moth­er of nine was pick­ing wild­flow­ers on the side of the road in Loveland, Colorado, last sum­mer when a local cop got out of his patrol vehi­cle and told her to stop — begin­ning a police encounter that ulti­mate­ly left her with bro­ken bones, bruised, and traumatized.
Loveland Police Officer Austin Hopp had been dri­ving behind Karen Garner with his over­head lights on because she was accused of shoplift­ing from a near­by Walmart. But Garner did not appear to notice, accord­ing to body cam­era footage pub­lished by Garner’s attor­ney Wednesday.
Garner has demen­tia and sen­so­ry apha­sia, an inabil­i­ty to under­stand spo­ken and writ­ten speech, accord­ing to a fed­er­al civ­il rights law­suit filed on her behalf this week against the city of Loveland and three offi­cers involved in Garner’s arrest.
Hopp asked Garner why she didn’t stop after he acti­vat­ed his lights and siren, at which point Garner gave him a blank expres­sion, said some­thing unin­tel­li­gi­ble, and start­ed to move away.
“No, no, no,” Hopp said, accord­ing to body­cam footage.

Hopp then grabbed the 80-pound woman, threw her to the grass, and twist­ed her arms behind her back, body­cam footage shows. Garner was still clutch­ing a hand­ful of wild­flow­ers. A sec­ond cop, Daria Jalali, arrived with­in min­utes and assist­ed in the arrest. Then, Despite Garner’s evi­dent dis­tress and small stature, Hopp pushed her left arm “painful­ly upward,” accord­ing to body cam­era footage and the law­suit. Police repeat­ed­ly threw her on the ground, and hog-tied her on the side of the road — a con­tro­ver­sial restraint that’s been banned by some police depart­ments. Once her feet were bound, Jalali, Hopp, and their on-scene super­vi­sor, Sgt. Philip Metzler, lift­ed her into the back of a police vehi­cle, accord­ing to the lawsuit.
“I’m going home,” Garner cried repeat­ed­ly. As a result of the inci­dent, Garner was left with a dis­lo­cat­ed shoul­der, a frac­tured humerus bone, and a sprained wrist, the law­suit alleges. She was cov­ered with bruis­es by the time she arrived at a hos­pi­tal — although she wasn’t tak­en to the med­ical facil­i­ty until sev­er­al hours after she was first stopped by police, accord­ing to the law­suit. After the law­suit was filed Wednesday and cov­ered by local media out­lets includ­ing KUSA, an NBC affil­i­ate in Denver, the Loveland Police Department said in a state­ment that it’d inves­ti­gate the encounter. Officials added they’d only heard of the inci­dent this week, hav­ing not received any pri­or com­plaints. In the mean­time, the depart­ment has placed Hopp on admin­is­tra­tive leave, and reas­signed Jalali and Metzler to admin­is­tra­tive duties, accord­ing to the state­ment post­ed on the department’s Facebook page.


But Garner’s fam­i­ly wants to make sure this doesn’t hap­pen to any­one ever again — and they’re hop­ing for sig­nif­i­cant changes in per­son­nel, lead­er­ship, and pol­i­cy at the Loveland Police Department. “This is not a ‘sin­gle bad apple’ type of sce­nario,” Sarah Schielke, Garner’s attor­ney in the law­suit, told VICE News. “This is a sys­temic, cul­tur­al, deeply ingrained, com­ing-down-from-lead­er­ship type of atti­tude, where this is not com­mu­ni­ty polic­ing — it’s com­mu­ni­ty ter­ror­ism, practically.”
She added: “If somebody’s dumb enough, in their mind, to not capit­u­late, they’re going to pay for it. Even if you’re an elder­ly dis­abled lady.”
While Garner’s chil­dren were doing their best to keep an eye on her, she slipped out to Walmart the after­noon of her arrest, Schielke said. Later, Garner wound up wan­der­ing out of the store with­out pay­ing for Pepsi, a can­dy bar, a T‑shirt, and some stain-remov­ing wipes — worth less than $14 alto­geth­er. Walmart employ­ees stopped her and took the items back. They then refused her attempt to pay and called the police, accord­ing to the law­suit. Casey Staheli, a spokesper­son for Walmart, said in a state­ment to VICE News: “We stopped the cus­tomer after notic­ing her attempt to take mer­chan­dise from the store with­out pay­ing for it. To pro­tect the safe­ty of our peo­ple, the police were called only after Ms. Garner became phys­i­cal with an associate.”

Hopp found Garner a few blocks away from the Walmart as she was walk­ing home. When Garner appeared con­fused at his ques­tions, he said to her: “You just left Walmart. Do you need to be arrest­ed right now?” Then he tack­led her. At one point, a con­cerned cit­i­zen stopped and asked the offi­cers, “Do you have to use that much aggression?”
“What are you doing? Get out of here,” Hopp said, accord­ing to body cam­era footage. The man, who had pulled over to the side of the road, asked to know who Hopp’s sergeant was, say­ing he had seen the cop throw “that lit­tle kid.” (Garner is 5 feet tall, accord­ing to the law­suit.) “She just stole from Walmart and refused to stop, refused to lis­ten to law­ful orders, and to fight me,” Hopp told the man. “This is what hap­pens when you fight the police. I have to use force to safe­ly detain her. That’s what this is. This isn’t just some ran­dom act of aggression.”
Later, when Metzler arrived and the offi­cers were recount­ing the events of the arrest togeth­er, Hopp admit­ted he “strug­gled” with Garner.

You’re a lit­tle mud­dy, dude,” Metzler said, accord­ing to body cam­era footage.
“A lit­tle bloody, a lit­tle mud­dy, that’s how it works,” Jalali responded.
The offi­cers were refer­ring to Garner’s blood. She was tak­en to jail and charged with theft of less than $50, obstruct­ing a peace offi­cer, and resist­ing arrest, accord­ing to the Loveland Reporter-Herald, though the Larimer County District Attorney agreed to dis­miss the case in August 2020. The intense encounter with police has still left its scars, though. Garner’s chil­dren have told Schielke that she’s able to find some peace play­ing soli­taire, lis­ten­ing to music, or doing crafts at a mem­o­ry care facil­i­ty, but has oth­er­wise become with­drawn and mis­trust­ful. They not­ed that in the past, Garner was the ulti­mate, crafty home-mak­er, who loved to go to con­certs and play cards. “What lit­tle free­dom and hap­pi­ness Ms. Garner enjoyed in her life as an elder­ly adult with declin­ing men­tal health was, on June 26, 2020, reck­less­ly and delib­er­ate­ly oblit­er­at­ed by the Loveland Police Department,” the law­suit states. Tom Hacker, a spokesman for the Loveland Police Department, said the agen­cy’s pro­fes­sion­al stan­dards unit will exam­ine the inci­dent. “There’s no record asso­ci­at­ed with this event, no frame of video, no shred of any evi­dence that won’t be looked at pret­ty thor­ough­ly,” he told VICE News. It was unclear if the offi­cers named in the law­suit had attor­neys who could speak on their behalf; the local police union didn’t imme­di­ate­ly respond to VICE News’ request for comment.(From vice​news​.com)