Two police officers accused of dislocating a dementia sufferer’s shoulder during a violent arrest have been caught on camera laughing and joking about it as they re-watch their body cam footage.
Loveland Police Officers, Austin Hopp and Daria Jalali, were filmed cheering and fist pumping each other as they sat and watched the moment they arrested 73-year-old Karen Garner, who has dementia, over accusations she forgot to pay for groceries at the store.
The shocking surveillance footage of the officers from inside Loveland Police Department, in Colorado, has been released as part of a lawsuit filed on behalf on Mrs Garner, which claims her arrest last June by Hopp and Jalali violated her civil rights. Their celebrations took place as they gathered round a computer with a third, unnamed officer, to re-watch the arrest, all while Mrs Garner was suffering in a jail cell, allegedly with a dislocated shoulder, a fractured arm and without any medical attention.
Officers Hopp and Jalali are under investigation for their part arresting Mrs Garner, and body cam footage of the encounter sparked outrage when it was released earlier this month.
The distressing body cam clip showed Hopp slamming Mrs Garner to the ground, causing her to fracture her elbow and dislocate her shoulder, according to the lawsuit filed by Mrs Garner’s attorney, Sarah Schielke.
This newly released footage of Hopp and Jalali reviewing video of the arrest shows, as Schielke describes, the officers mocking the ‘pop’ when Mrs Garner’s shoulder dislocated.
‘Ready for the pop?’ Hopp can be heard saying in apparent reference to Garner’s arm coming out of it’s socket.
A third unnamed officer then asks, ‘what popped?’, and Hopp replied: ‘I think it was her shoulder.’
‘I can’t believe I threw a 73-year-old on the ground,’ he added.
Jalali then spoke and said: ‘It’s like live TV, body-cams are my favorite thing to watch, I could watch livestream body-cams all day.’
The third officer suggests creating a TV show dedicated to body-camera footage before telling Hopp, in reference to his arrest, ‘Impressive, buddy’.
Schielke, who posted the footage from inside the station on YouTube, said that the officers made their commentary while Garner ‘remained handcuffed to a bench in a cell just 10 feet away from them, alone, confused and crying in pain. She would ultimately go over six hours without any medical attention’.
The civil rights attorney added that Garner’s family hired a sound engineer to enhance audio on booking videos from the day of her arrest.
‘The video reveals a grotesque culture of callous disregard for the health and safety of citizens,’ Schielke claims.
She added: ‘The officers fist bump one another multiple times in self-congratulation for both the assault on Garner and the intimidation of the citizen who attempted to complain about it.’
‘This is utterly disgusting, these videos cannot be unseen or unheard. I am sorry to have to share them with the public.
‘This will be traumatic and deeply upsetting for everyone to see.
‘But as it often goes with bad police departments, it seems this is the only way to make them change. They have to be exposed.
‘If I didn’t release this, the Loveland Police’s toxic culture of arrogance and entitlement, along with their horrific abuse of the vulnerable and powerless, would carry on, business as usual.’
Hopp has been placed on administrative leave while Jalali and on-scene supervising sergeant, Phil Metzler, who is also named in the suit, was re-assigned to desk duty pending the outcome of an internal investigation by the district attorney in Larimer and Jackson counties, Gordon McLaughlin.
Mrs Garner’s ordeal began on June 26, 2020, when she was arrested by Hopp and Jalali for leaving a Walmart store in Loveland without paying for a candy bar, a can of Pepsi and a t-shirt totaling $13.38.
The store, however, later confirmed it had recovered the items and hadn’t lost any money.
As Mrs Garner walked home, officer Hopp tracked her down to confront her about the payment, which she had forgotten to do as she has dementia. Hopp’s body cam footage showed Mrs Garner appearing to be visibly confused, reports the Greeley Tribune.
In the video, Hopp is then seen pinning Garner to the ground as she screams ‘I’m going home’. He then proceeds to place the pensioner is hand cuffs before pulling her to her feet and pushing her up against his patrol car.
Assisting officer, Daria Jalali, can also be seen pulling Garner’s arm to behind her back as Garner is pinned to the police car. As the officers appear to pull Garner’s arms, a popping sound can be heard and Garner cries out in pain.
According to the subsequent lawsuit, Hopp ‘violently assaulted Garner without provocation’ and Schielke described it as a ‘torture case’.
The suit says during the first hour Garner was in custody, she said: ‘They hurt my shoulders’ 22 times and ‘They hurt my wrists’ 13 times, but was not given any medical treatment.
State prosecutors have since launched a criminal investigation into Hopp, Jalali and Metzler. Officers Tyler Blackett and Antolina Hill have also been added to the suit, Mrs Garner’s attorney said Monday.
The district attorney has said his investigation is being led by the Fort Collins Police Services with assistance from the US Attorney’s Office and the FBI.
The criminal probe could result in unspecified criminal charges against Hopp, Jalali and Metzler.
If they don’t charge the officers, prosecutors must release a letter explaining why they chose not to do so, according to the Denver Post.
Photos taken in the aftermath of Mrs Garner’s arrest show her with a severely bruised and swollen arm.
The lawsuit claims the arrest violated her constitutional protections against excessive force and to have due process and also violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.
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