Three additional police officers in Loveland, Colorado were placed on administrative leave Wednesday after video showed officers laughing and joking while watching body cam footage of a violent June arrest of an elderly woman with dementia. Two officers arrested 73-year-old Karen Garner after responding to a call that she had walked out of a local Walmart without paying for $13.88 of items. One of the arresting officers, Austin Hopp, approached Garner on the side of the road before quickly slamming her to the ground, breaking her arm and dislocating her shoulder, according to a lawsuit filed by Garner’s family. Hopp was placed on administrative leave earlier this week.
As disturbing as the arrest itself, is what happened back at the station. Hopp and his partner Daria Jalali took Garner to the Loveland police station where she was handcuffed to a bench in a holding cell and left weeping for hours because of her injuries, the family’s court filing states. Meanwhile, video footage released by Garner’s lawyer shows Hopp and Jalali sitting 10-feet away watching the body cam footage of the arrest, laughing, and providing commentary. “I can’t believe I threw a 73-year-old on the ground,” Hopp can be heard saying on the tape. At one point, officers fist-bump when assessing the arrest. “I thought it went great,” Hopp said. “I think we crushed it.”
At one point, Jalali exclaims that the footage is “like live TV.” “Body cams are my favorite thing to watch,” Jalali says. “I could watch livestream body cams all day.” At one point, both officers are joined by a third officer, Tyler Blackett. “I was super excited,” Hopp said of the arrest. “I was like, ‘All right, let’s wrestle, girl. Let’s wreck it!’ I got her on the ground and all that stuff. I got her cuffed up. … Threw her on the ground a couple of times.”
On Wednesday, Jalali and Blackett were both placed on leave, as was their supervising officer, Philip Metzler.