Loveland Reaches $3 Million Settlement With Karen Garner Over Violent 2020 Arrest

Loveland Police Department
A screenshot from Loveland police officer Austin Hopp’s body camera moments before he forcefully arrested 73-year-old Karen Garner in Loveland on June 26, 2020.

Updated September 8, 2021 at 12:48 p.m.

The city of Loveland has announced a $3 million settlement with Karen Garner, the 73-year-old woman with dementia who was injured during a violent arrest in June 2020.

Sarah Schielke, the attorney representing Garner, will discuss the deal during a press conference scheduled for 11 a.m.

Garner filed a federal lawsuit after Loveland police arrested her for allegedly taking less than $15 of merchandise from a Walmart without paying. Police allegedly fractured Garner's arm and dislocated her shoulder during the encounter, and video from inside the police station shows several officers laughing at Garner's injuries afterward.

The settlement does not include an admission of liability by the city. It comes one day after Garner's attorney released an internal report from the Loveland Police Department, which shows multiple people in the department's chain of command reviewed body camera footage of Garner's arrest and found the officers' actions were within policy.

Garner’s daughter, Alissa Swartz, said at a press conference Wednesday that the money will go toward 24/7 dementia care for her mother.

“It's good to know that we can keep her in care and have her cared for, but there needs to be some change in this department,” she said.

Swartz added that her family decided to settle the case and drop the lawsuit after reading a letter Garner wrote years before, urging her loved ones to not dwell on the past.

Two former officers, Austin Hopp and Daria Jalali, will still face criminal charges. They resigned from their positions in April, more than a week after the federal lawsuit was filed. Community service officer Tyler Blackett, who assisted in booking Garner, also resigned.

“There is no excuse, under any circumstances, for what happened to Ms. Garner. We have agreed on steps we need to take to begin building back trust. While these actions won’t change what Ms. Garner experienced, they will serve to improve this police department and hopefully restore faith that the LPD exists to serve those who live in and visit Loveland,” LPD Chief Bob Ticer said in a statement. 

Hopp is charged with second degree assault for causing serious bodily injury to an at-risk victim and for attempting to influence a public servant. Both charges are felonies. He also faces one charge of official misconduct, a misdemeanor. Jalali is charged with failure to report excessive use of force, failure to intervene in a use of excessive force and official misconduct, all misdemeanors.

CPR’s Claire Cleveland contributed to this report.