After being captured on video chuckling over the arrest of a 73-year-old woman with dementia, a former Colorado police officer was sentenced to five years in prison.
A store clerk in Loveland, Colorado, named Austin Hopp arrested Karen Garner in 2020 after she walked out of the store without paying for $14 worth of products. Loveland is roughly 50 miles north of Denver. While plucking wildflowers in a field, she turned her back on him, and he grabbed her arm and dragged her to the ground, still clutching the flowers.
According to a deal with prosecutors that was rejected by the family of Eric Garner, after pleading guilty to second-degree assault in March, Hopp faced up to eight years in jail under the terms of the agreement. He risked a mandatory prison sentence of between 10 and 32 years if convicted on the original, more serious assault charge.
As can be seen in the video, when Garner was being slammed against the bonnet of the car, she expressed her want to return home on several occasions. When he threw her against the car and held out her bent left arm, he said, “Are you finished?” What else do you have to say? Is that all you have to say? “We’re not going to participate in this game,” he said.
In a federal case filed by Garner, it was claimed that his actions caused her shoulder to become dislocated and dislocated. To resolve the case, the city agreed to pay her family $3 million, which they claim would fund the 24-hour care she has required since her arrest.
Hopp and others may be seen in a video acquired by Garner’s attorney laughing and joking about the arrest as they examine the body camera footage with Garner in a holding cell nearby. As the video progressed to a point where Garner’s shoulder was allegedly dislocated, Hopp asked the other participants to listen for any “pop” that could have happened.