WARNING – DISTRESSING CONTENT: Police officers have been filmed laughing as they reportedly watched a video of themselves breaking and dislocating the arm of a 73-year-old woman with dementia during an arrest.
Karen Garner was arrested in Loveland, Colorado, on June 26 last year for allegedly stealing US$14 worth of items from a Walmart department store.
Bodycam video from two Loveland Police Department police officers show Ms Garner being wrestled to the ground as she tried to walk home.
“I’m going home,” she protests.
The officer pushes her to the ground, puts her arms behind her back and handcuffs her. A passer-by stops and asks the officers if they need to use so much aggression.
Sarah Scheilke, a lawyer with The Life & Liberty Law Office, claims Ms Garner suffered a fractured arm, dislocated shoulder and sprained wrist during the arrest.
Colorado officers laugh at arrest video
Ms Scheilke, who is representing Ms Garner in a case against the Loveland Police Department, released the video via her YouTube channel. She also released video of the officers who allegedly injured her client watching the body cam video back at their station and laughing at it.
The officers, identified as Austin Hopp and Daria Jalali, were filmed speaking about the arrest with Mr Hopp saying he believes they “crushed it” while giving his fellow officer a fist bump.
“Did you hear the pop?” he asks.
“When I had her pushed against the car when you first got there? I was like ‘OK, you’re gonna play’, and I was like pushing, pushing, pushing, I hear a ‘pop’, I was like, ‘oh, no’.”
This conversation occurs while Ms Garner sits in a cell nearby sobbing and in pain.
They then re-watch the arrest with a third police officer. They laugh as Ms Jalali shows on camera and Ms Garner tells them, “I didn’t know”, referring to her alleged theft.
“Ready for the pop?” Mr Hopp says.
“Hear the pop?”
The officer asks what he’s referring to and Mr Hopp says he thinks it’s her shoulder.
“I hate it,” Ms Jalali says as they laugh.
Woman with dementia claims police covered up her injuries
Ms Garner’s lawyer claims her client, who has dementia, tried to pay for the Walmart items after she walked out of the store without them but the store refused her payment and called the police.
Her client took laundry detergent and Pepsi from the store, Ms Scheilke said.
Ms Scheilke told 9 News NBC the officers’ conduct was “unacceptable”.
“It’s just community terrorism at the end of the day,” she said.
She further claims police covered up her client’s injuries as they took pictures in jail.
“They had taken her hood and draped it over the dislocated shoulder to kind of build up some height back there so it didn’t look as an egregious an injury,” Ms Scheilke said.
Transport paperwork from the police department, obtained by the station, also shows officers claimed Ms Garner suffered no injuries during her arrest.
Loveland Police Department said in a statement Mr Hopp has been placed on leave while Ms Jalali has been moved to admin duties.
The department also claims it only became aware of the allegations against its officers on April 14, but this is something Ms Scheilke disputes.
It added it takes the allegations “very seriously” and will undertake its own investigation.
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