(LOVELAND, Colo.) — Two former Loveland, Colorado, police officers were charged Wednesday for seriously injuring a 73-year-old woman with dementia during an arrest last year.
The woman, Karen Garner, was stopped by police on June 26, 2020, after employees at a local Walmart alleged she left without paying for $13.88 worth of items, according to prosecutors. In body camera footage that was released last month, then-officer Austin Hopp, 26, is seen grabbing Garner’s arm and forcing her to the ground.
“Right now you’re resisting, which is not going to fly with me,” Hopp is heard saying in the video.
Daria Jalali, 27, another responding officer, was seen in the video restraining Gardner.
District Attorney Gordon McLaughlin announced Wednesday that Hopp was charged with second-degree assault causing serious bodily injury and attempt to influence a public servant, both felonies. He was also charged with official misconduct, a misdemeanor.
McLaughlin said that Hopp made “significant omissions” in his report to his superiors about the incident, but the prosecutor did not give further details.
Jalali was charged with three misdemeanors for failure to report use of force by a peace officer, failure to intervene and first-degree official misconduct, McLaughlin said.
The prosecutor noted that the charges against Jalali were part of new police reform laws that penalized officers who do not intervene when a fellow officer is using excessive force.
“Without the new law, it would have been more difficult to prosecute,” McLaughlin said.
It is not clear whether the two former officers have retained attorneys.
Garner filed a lawsuit against Loveland police in April and claimed she suffered a dislocated shoulder, broken arm and sprained wrist during the incident. Shortly after the suit was filed, the 8th Judicial District Critical Incident Response Team triggered an investigation into the arrest and both Hopp and Jalali resigned from the force.
Sarah Schielke, the attorney who filed the suit against the Loveland Police Department, didn’t immediately return a message for comment.
The suit also claimed two other officers were seen in the video joking and laughing about Garner’s arrest. McLaughlin told reporters that the evidence they have doesn’t support additional prosecution.
However, he did reiterate the investigators are committed to an independent and thorough examination and prosecution.
“I hope today can be a step towards rebuilding trust in the criminal justice community,” McLaughlin said in a statement.
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