A former Colorado cop has been sentenced to five years in prison for the violent arrest of a 73-year-old woman with cognitive impairment who suffered a broken arm, sprained wrist and dislocated shoulder during the arrest .
Karen Garner went to a supermarket in the town of Loveland, Colorado (western United States) in June 2020 to buy small items for $14. But according to her lawyer, she had failed to pay due to her dementia, which led store workers to call the police, although they were able to recover the goods.
It was on the side of the road that a policeman, Austin Hopp, had caught up with the septuagenarian who was walking home. As she refused to obey his orders, which she probably did not understand, he belted her and pinned her to the ground to handcuff her, twisting her arms behind her back.
“I’m going home,” repeated the victim over and over again, visibly disoriented.
The images of this brutal arrest, filmed by the on-board camera fitted to the police officer, had aroused great emotion at the time, especially since CCTV images, taken in the police station a little later, would show Austin Hopp and other colleagues guffaw while replaying the scene.
“Ready for pop? I think it was his shoulder,” laughed the officer, who has since left Loveland Police along with two of his colleagues.
During his trial, the ex-policeman pleaded guilty to the assault and on Thursday apologized to the Garner family, saying he was “truly ashamed” of his actions, reports the Denver Post.
Larimer County Court Judge Michelle Brinegar said “this case is not about a mistake.” “It is about a young policeman who used his position of power and authority to flaunt his toughness, in defiance of any sense of humanity, and who showed a disturbing turn of mind criminal “, she launched in rendering her judgment.
Internal investigations into this incident initially found no complaints about Austin Hopp’s behavior.
But last year, the town of Loveland had reached an amicable agreement relating to the payment of 3 million dollars in compensation to the family of Ms. Garner, who was suing her in civil proceedings.