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Police Investigated After Aggressive Shoplifting Arrest Of Elderly Woman With Dementia

Karen Garner's attorney says an officer fractured her elderly client's arm and dislocated her shoulder after Garner allegedly left Walmart with $13 worth of unpaid items.

By Gina Tron
Karen Garner Ap

A local District Attorney's Office in Colorado is investigating the Loveland Police Department, following an aggressive arrest by officers of an elderly woman with dementia. 

The 8th Judicial District Attorney’s Office announced on Monday that they have requested an official review of the 2020 arrest of Karen Garner, 73. 

Garner was arrested on June 26 by the Loveland Police Department after Walmart reported she had shoplifted $13 worth of items.

Sarah Schielke, Garner’s attorney, claims that Walmart forced her back into the store and took the items, before she could offer to pay for them, after which she left the establishment. The charges against Garner were later dismissed.

Footage from a body-worn camera, obtained by the Associated Press, shows the responding police officer catching up to Garner on a roadside.

“I don’t think you want to play it this way,” he tells her. Looking confused, Garner shrugs. The officer then physically restrains her.

“From the time he got up to her, within arm’s reach, to when he grabbed her and violently threw her to the ground and put her in handcuffs: eight seconds passed,” Schielke told the Associated Press.

The officer hogtied Garner on the ground as she kept repeating, “I’m going home.” 

Schielke says her client suffered a fractured arm and dislocated shoulder as a result. She says Garner has dementia and sensory aphasia. The lawyer says her client has been withdrawn and depressed since the incident.

Garner filed a lawsuit against the department for use of excessive force and serious bodily injury during an arrest. As a result, the Loveland Police Department put the responding officer on leave, they announced on April 15. An assisting officer has been reassigned. 

"LPD takes very seriously the allegations concerning the arrest of resident Karen Garner, and shares with the community the concerns about video images that became public on Wednesday,” a statement from the department reads.

The investigation announced by the district attorney’s office will be led by Fort Collins Police Services and will be assisted by investigative staff from the District Attorney’s Office and other partner agencies, including the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to a press release.

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