Loveland Police Sergeant Involved In Forceful Arrest Of 73-Year-Old Woman With Dementia Resigns

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.

A third officer involved in the forceful arrest of an elderly northern Colorado woman last year has resigned, the Loveland Police Department announced on Wednesday.

Sgt. Philip Metzler resigned after an independent investigation into the arrest of 73-year-old Karen Garner was conducted for the department. Metzler was at the scene following the arrest of Garner. The findings of the independent investigation — conducted by consulting firm Hillard Heintze — have not yet been released to the public.

He reviewed the officers’ use of force along with other higher-ups in the department in the weeks following the arrest. This internal so-called Blue Team Report looked at the body camera footage of the incident and determined the officers’ use of force followed the department’s policy.

“It’s about time,” said Sarah Schielke in response to Metzler’s resignation. Schielke represented Garner in a civil rights case against the department that was settled earlier this month for $3 million. “He should have been fired, not given the opportunity to resign.” 

Schielke, of The Life & Liberty Law Office, has called for Metzler to be fired since before Garner’s settlement. She and Garner’s family also want Loveland’s Police Chief Robert Ticer to be fired. She pledged a $50,000 donation to a dementia charity of Ticer’s choosing if he resigns or is fired within 30-days of the settlement. There are 14 more days until her deadline is up. 

“This resignation closes one more chapter of an incident that has tarnished the hard work of the men and women of the Loveland Police Department who have and continue to serve with honor,” said Ticer in a statement.

On June 26, 2020, Garner, who has dementia, suffered a dislocated shoulder, broken arm and was left with bruises on her arms during the arrest. She was arrested after attempting to leave a nearby Walmart with $14 of unpaid goods. The goods were retrieved by Walmart staff. Garner’s family and lawyer maintain that she made the mistake of taking the goods without paying due to her dementia and memory loss.

On Garner’s way home from the Walmart, she was confronted and arrested by Loveland police officers Austin Hopp and Daria Jalali. Sgt. Metzler responded to the scene after Garner was arrested and placed in a police car. 

The two Loveland officers involved in the arrest have already resigned and were charged criminally.

Hopp was charged with assault in the second degree for causing serious bodily injury to an at-risk victim, attempting to influence a public servant, both of which are felonies, and he was also charged with official misconduct, a misdemeanor. It was 26 seconds after Hopp got out of his car that he forced Garner to the ground, according to his arrest affidavit.

Jalali was charged with failure to report excessive use of force, failure to intervene in a use of excessive force and official misconduct, all misdemeanors.