Hero Colorado Cops Share Laughs Over Video Of Them Beating Up 73-Year-Old Woman
Last June, Karen Garner, a 73-year-old woman with dementia, allegedly walked out of a Colorado Walmart with $13 worth of unpaid merchandise. Walmart is a mom-and-pop billion-dollar business that can't just let old ladies rip it off, so this was immediately reported to the cops. Austin Hopp of the Loveland Police Department found this threat to society wandering home, picking flowers by the side of the road. The confused Garner didn't immediately comply with Hopp, so she had to pay the price for her defiance.
“I don't think you want to play it this way," Hopp said, before eventually tackling the frightened old woman to the ground, handcuffing her and slamming her hard against his cruiser. Maybe it's possible she looked like a spry 63-year-old woman with dementia. Maybe Hopp thought she had "superhuman strength." That's a common cop go-to.
Garner's family claims that her arm was fractured, her wrist sprained, and her shoulder dislocated during the arrest. Officer Daria Jalali assisted Hopp with the beat down. At no point did the officers demonstrate any compassion or even the slightest awareness that Garner might have a mental impairment. (She also reportedly suffers from sensory aphasia, which impacts her ability to communicate or understand why uniformed thugs are attacking her.) Jalali angrily yelled, “Quit!" as Garner cried that she just wants to go home. She was only two blocks away.
This was all caught on the body camera footage, which was released this month. You need to watch the whole thing, no matter how difficult. This is what your tax-dollars fund.
“Are you finished?" Hopp said like he was a bad-ass action star taking out a terrorist. Garner kept repeating, through her pain, “I'm going home." Jalali barked, “Stand up! We're not going to hold you." Young people today. When I was a kid, the cops would hold the door open for the old women they beat up.
A concerned citizen stopped to ask if the cops “have to use so much aggression," and Hopp snapped, like a gangster caught disposing of a body, “What are you doing? Get out of here! This is not your business." But agents of the state abusing their authority is the public's business, at least in a free society. (At this point in the body cam footage, you can see the absurd in context slogan “Protect and Serve" on the side of the police cruiser.)
Jalali was asked if she's okay (because she's the one to worry about) and after examining her hands, Officer Lady Macbeth declared, “Little bloody, little muddy. That's how it works." This was Garner's blood.
The Loveland police didn't take Garner to the hospital or call her family. Instead, they let her sit in a cell, handcuffed, for six hours, while she cried out in pain.
Here's where things get really sick. Garner's attorney, Sarah Schielke, released surveillance footage that shows Hopp, Jalali, and Sergeant Phil Metzler watching this literal gag reel and laughing like ghouls.
From The Daily Beast:
"Ready for the pop?" Hopp said to Jalali and other officers while they gathered to watch the footage of the violent arrest. "What popped?" another officer asked. "I think it was her shoulder," Hopp replied.
Hopp can be heard saying, "I can't believe I threw a 73-year-old on the ground," while Jalali comments: "It's like live TV... Body-cams are my favorite thing to watch, I could watch livestream body-cams all day." The third officer can be heard suggesting "The Body-Cam Show" as a title for a proposed television special, and says to Hopp, "Impressive, buddy."
These people are sociopaths. They claimed the arrest "went great" and mocked Garner as "ancient," “senile," and "flexible."
"We crushed it," one of the officers says.
Garner's family filed a federal lawsuit against the officers involved earlier this month. The suit alleges that they knew Garner was hurt but didn't give her medical care for the six hours she was in custody. Hopp, Jalali, Phil Metzler and community service officer Tyler Blackett are currently on administrative leave pending an investigation into how gross they are.
In case you were worried about the struggling Walmart corporation, the staff apparently retrieved the valuable soda and laundry detergent from Garner before she'd even left the parking lot. She tried to pay but they wouldn't let her. This was all over $13.
Schielke, speaking for everyone with a human soul, said: "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."
Police departments across the country are either failing to screen out violent monsters who get off on hurting people or police training deliberately turns cops into monsters. That's the question we have to answer before any meaningful reforms can occur.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."