The Loveland police officers who violently arrested a 73-year-old woman with dementia and laughed about the incident are no longer with the department.
Loveland police Chief Robert Ticer announced Friday morning that the two officers who made the arrest, Austin Hopp and Daria Jalali, are no longer with the department, though he would not say whether the officers resigned or were fired.
A community service officer, Tyler Blackett, is also no longer with the department. Blackett helped book the woman, Karen Garner, into the jail and laughed about the incident with Hopp and Jalali.
“Our goal with the Loveland Police Department has always been to make our community proud,” Ticer said at a news conference Friday morning. “We failed. And we are very sorry for that.”
The city will also contract with an outside investigator to work with the city’s human resource staff to conduct an internal investigation, Ticer said. A criminal investigation of the officers led by the Fort Collins Police Department and the Eighth Judicial District Attorney’s Office continues, the chief said.
The announcement comes two weeks after Garner’s family filed a federal lawsuit alleging the officers violated Garner’s civil rights. The body camera footage of the June 26 arrest, released by the family’s lawyer on April 14, brought international attention to the city police department. Garner’s family has called for the officers to be fired and charged criminally.
Hopp contacted Garner after Walmart employees called police to report that she tried to walk out of the store without paying for $13 of merchandise. The Walmart employees were able to get the items back but called police anyway.
Hopp found Garner walking along a road two blocks from her apartment. He yelled at her to stop and when she responded in confusion, he took her to the ground, pushed her against his police car and handcuffed her. Two other officers, Jalali and Sgt. Phil Metzler, later arrived on scene and helped with the arrest.
Video inside a Loveland police station shows Hopp and Jalali laughing about the incident while Garner sat in a cell 10 feet away. They rewatched the body camera footage and Hopp said “Ready for the pop?” at the part of the video where there is an audible pop, which Garner’s lawyer says is the sound of Hopp dislocating Garner’s shoulder.
The four officers involved in Garner’s arrest — Hopp, Jalali, Metzler and Blackett — were placed on administrative leave after Garner’s attorney, Sarah Shielke, released the video from inside the police station on Monday. Previously, Hopp had been on administrative leave but Jalali and Metzler were still working, though on desk duty.
Metzler remained on administrative leave Friday, Ticer said.
Hopp worked for the department for a year, Ticer said. Jalali had been with the department for three years. Metzler has worked for the department for 27 years.
Both Hopp and Jalali worked at other law enforcement agencies prior to becoming Loveland police officers, Ticer said. He did not say which agencies.