Ex-officer Austin Hopp sentenced to 5 years in prison for violent arrest of Karen Garner

Nearly two years after violently arresting a 73-year-old woman with dementia, former Colorado police officer Austin Hopp was sentenced to five years in prison on Thursday as part of a plea agreement to lessen his jail time. The June 2020 arrest left Karen Garner with a broken arm, sprained wrist and separated shoulder, CBS Denver reported.

In Larimer County Court in early March, Hopp pleaded guilty to an assault charge that was punishable by 2 to 8 years in prison. That avoided the minimum 10 to 30 or more years in prison he would have faced with a trial and conviction.

Hopp first encountered Garner after being dispatched to a report of an attempted theft at a Loveland Walmart, according to CBS Denver. Garner, who has dementia, allegedly tried to steal less than $15 worth of goods from the store. When confronted by Walmart staff, she returned the items and walked out of the store.

Karen Garner
Karen Garner’s arm was broken during an arrest by Loveland PD officers, her attorney said.

Loveland PD


Body camera footage from Hopp showed the officer approaching Garner as she walked home. Carrying a wildflower in her hand, she failed to comply with multiple orders to stop. Hopp is then seen grabbing Garner by the arm and forcefully taking her to the ground, CBS Denver reported.

As fellow officer Daria Jalali responded to the scene, Hopp allegedly separated Garner’s shoulder by forcing her arm behind her back and up near her shoulder blades, CBS Denver said. An audible pop is heard on the camera, something Hopp acknowledged hearing in footage later released by Loveland police.

Garner was taken to a holding facility at the Loveland Police Department, where she complained multiple times about having injuries, CBS Denver reported. She was allegedly forced to sit in a holding cell without medical attention for hours, even after Hopp, Jalali and another employees were heard on security footage acknowledging that she may have injuries.

colorado-officers.jpg
Former Loveland, Colorado police officers Austin Hopp, left, and Daria Jalali.

Austin Hopp and Daria Jalali


After a brief investigation, Hopp resigned from the Loveland Police Department, as did Jalali. Both were arrested and charged with crimes related to Garner’s arrest.

As first reported by CBS Denver, the Larimer County District Attorney’s Office elected to move forward with a plea agreement against the will of the Garner family. The family felt the video in the case proved Hopp was guilty on all counts beyond a reasonable doubt.

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