By Keith Coffman
DENVER (Reuters) – The city of Loveland, Colorado, has agreed to pay $3 million to an elderly woman with dementia who suffered a dislocated shoulder and broken arm while being forcefully arrested for shoplifting last year, both sides said on Wednesday.
The payment settles a federal civil-rights lawsuit filed by the family of Karen Garner, 75, against the city, and the two arresting officers. Both officers have resigned from the force and are facing criminal charges.
An attorney for Garner’s family, Sarah Schielke, told a news conference that the violent arrest had accelerated Garner’s decline and that she now required care around the clock.
City Manager Steve Adams offered a “deep and heartfelt apology” to Garner and her family.
“We know we did not act in a manner that upholds the values, integrity, and policies of the city and police department,” Adams said in a written statement. Loveland is about 50 miles (80 km) north of Denver.
Police body-camera footage of the incident surfaced when the lawsuit was filed in May.
On the video, one of the officers, Austin Hopp, is seen handcuffing Garner and shoving her to the ground. Garner was held at the police station for hours before receiving medical attention despite complaining about her injuries, according to the lawsuit.
Hopp was charged with two felony counts of second-degree assault causing serious bodily injury and attempting to influence a public servant. He is also charged with a misdemeanor count of official misconduct
The second officer, Daria Jalali, was charged with three misdemeanor counts of failing to report the use of force, failure to intervene and official misconduct.
A spokeswoman for Hopp’s attorney said he would have no comment on the case. Two lawyers representing Jalali also declined comment.
At the time of Garner’s arrest, three police supervisors said the use of force was “reasonable and appropriate,” according to internal police documents released by Schielke.
But on Wednesday, police chief Bob Ticer said there “is no excuse, under any circumstances, for what happened to Ms. Garner.”
Hopp is scheduled for an arraignment on the charges on Sept. 29. Jalali is set for a disposition hearing next month, according to court documents.
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