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An elderly grandmother with dementia is suing police in Colorado after they threw her to the ground and arrested her as she picked flowers.
Karen Garner was left with broken bones, bruises and severe trauma after Loveland Police Officer Austin Hopp forcefully tackled her to the ground at the side of the road.
Hopp had been following the 73-year-old in his patrol car last summer after she was accused of shoplifting from Walmart.
Her family say she managed to slip out of the shop while they weren’t looking, accidentally taking a bottle of Pepsi, a t-shirt and some wipes that accidentally hadn’t been paid for.
Distressing bodycam footage shows the moment Hopp tackled the OAP – who has dementia and sensory aphasia; an inability to understand spoken and written speech – to the ground, before roughly twisting her arms behind her back and lifting her left arm ‘painfully upward’, despite the fact she was not resisting.
‘You just left Walmart. Do you need to be arrested right now?’ he can be heard shouting, before jumping on top of her.
A passerby can also be heard asking why the officer had felt the need to use ‘that much aggression’.
Sadly, the grandmother was left with a dislocated shoulder, a fractured humerus bone and a sprained wrist, according to the lawsuit that has been filed on her behalf.
Garner’s family said they felt compelled to take legal action following the incident so this kind of situation doesn’t happen to anyone else.
Her attorney, Sarah Schielke, told VICE:
This is not a ‘single bad apple’ type of scenario. This is a systemic, cultural, deeply ingrained, coming-down-from-leadership type of attitude, where this is not community policing – it’s community terrorism, practically.
If somebody’s dumb enough, in their mind, to not capitulate, they’re going to pay for it. Even if you’re an elderly disabled lady.
Hopp has since been placed on administrative leave while the police force investigates the incident.
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