The Loveland Police Department has placed an additional three officers on administrative leave during an investigation into their treatment of then 73-year-old Karen Garner while she was in their custody, a spokesperson has confirmed.
The department initially placed Officer Austin Hopp on administrative leave pending an internal investigation, and Officer Daria Jalali and Sgt. Philip Metzler were placed on desk duty. However, the department has now placed Jalali, Metzler and community service officer Tyler Blackett on administrative leave as well.
Hopp, Jalali and Metzler arrested Garner last summer after she left a Walmart, forgetting to pay for less than $15 worth of items. A federal lawsuit alleges Hopp and Jalali forcefully subdued her, while Metzler – the supervising officer on the scene – brushed off a bystander’s complaint and approved of how Hopp and Jalali handled the incident.
Garner suffered a dislocated shoulder, broken bone in her arm, a sprained wrist, along with bruises and contusions. The lawsuit alleges Garner did not receive medical treatment for several hours after her arrest.
Garner has dementia, according to the lawsuit, and has limited ability to communicate. During her arrest, one of the only things she could say was “I’m going home!” repeatedly, and complain that her shoulders and arm hurt.
An amended complaint filed Sunday added Blackett and Sgt. Antolina Hill as defendants. The case says Blackett aided Hopp and Jalali in transporting Garner out of the patrol car and mocked the incident with them, while Garner repeatedly said her wrist and shoulder hurt.
The amended complaint also says Hill, who according to the complaint is a supervisor of Hopp, Jalali and Blackett, read Garner’s arrest affidavit prepared by Hopp and Jalali and was within earshot of Garner to hear her complaints about her shoulders hurting but ignored them. Hopp also told Hill directly about the force he used on Garner, according to the complaint.
The complaint says Hopp told other officers he heard the “pop” of Garner’s shoulder breaking and dislocating when he pushed Garner against his vehicle to subdue her.
Fort Collins Police Services and the 8th Judicial District Attorney’s Office have opened a criminal investigation into the officers’ conduct.
In a statement on Facebook two weeks ago, the Loveland Police Department initially claimed leaders did not know about the incident until the suit was filed. However, the attorney for Garner’s family, Sarah Schielke, has said the officers filed a use-of-force report that would have alerted the department and created an official record that force was used or an injury occurred.