LOVELAND, Colo. — More than two years after the arrest of an elderly woman with dementia, the Loveland Police Department admits that officers made egregious mistakes.
Karen Garner, 73, was arrested while walking home along Mountain Lion Road in Loveland in June 2020. She had been at a nearby Walmart when she left without paying for $14 worth of items.
When police approached her, body camera footage shows that one officer forcibly pushed Garner to the ground. It resulted in a broken arm and a dislocated shoulder.
In the two years since the arrest, two officers involved in the case have been found guilty or pleaded guilty for their involvement.
This week, a newly released independent report from Jensen Hughes details dishonesty, cover-up's and misconduct during Garner's arrest and thereafter.
"First and foremost, the local police department as well as the city of Loveland organization are sorry for what happened to Karen Garner," said City Manager Stephen Adams. "This report determined that involved officers that day behaved in a manner not befitting the Loveland Police Department."
> Below: Body camera footage shows the arrest. This footage has been edited by the law firm representing Garner. (Warning: The content in this video is graphic and may be disturbing to some viewers.)
The report found that a supervisor, former Sgt. Metzler, catalogued his body camera footage differently when he was interacting with a citizen who complained about the use of force during Garner's arrest and interaction with police officers. By reclassifying the footage, it was not associated with Garner's case in the system and also reduced the retention lifespan of the footage from 10 years to one year.
Metzler was found to be a 'bully' in his interaction with the citizen that expressed concerns. The report also found that he should have investigated Garner's injuries and instead reduced them to minor lacerations. Garner was left for five hours without medical treatment after she was arrested.
Garner's family says the report still isn't resulting in the accountability they were hoping for.
"While we appreciate the time and attention put into the report, we felt that [Assistant] Chief Butler, who signed off on the arrest, should be fired," said Shannon Steward, Garner's daughter-in-law.
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