The two cops who beat up a 73-year-old dementia patient in Colorado last June turned themselves in on Thursday and appeared in court after warrants were issued for their arrest.
Body camera footage shows Austin Hopp, 26 and Daria Jalali, 27, confronting Karen Garner as she left a Walmart store in Loveland without paying for $13 worth of items on June 26 before one of the officers then broke her arm during an arrest.
Later, surveillance footage surfaced that shows the former Loveland Police Department officers fist-bumping and laughing while viewing the body camera videos as Karen Garner was locked up in a jail cell in pain only feet away.
Austin Hopp and Daria Jalali surrendered themselves to the Larimer County Jail and have since been pictured in their mugshots, with Jalali seeming to smirk in hers. Austin Hopp was arrested at about 8.30 am with Daria Jalali turning herself in about an hour later. Austin Hopp appeared in court later that day.
KCNC-TV reported that Austin Hopp later emerged in court on Thursday afternoon while wearing a yellow jumpsuit and his hands in handcuffs.
Officials had issued warrants for their arrest on Wednesday.
8th Judicial District Attorney Gordon McLaughlin announced that Austin Hopp had been charged with second-degree assault and attempt to influence a public servant, both crimes, as well as the misdemeanour charge of official wrongdoing.
Jalali’s charges, all misdemeanours, are for failing to report a use of force, failing to intervene and official misconduct.
Gordon McLaughlin said on Wednesday that the officers had indications that they did intend to turn themselves in when the charges were announced on Wednesday.
He added that Austin Hopp made substantial omissions in interviews about the arrest in an attempt to impede the investigation of his conduct.
Karen Garner’s family filed a federal lawsuit last month against the officers and their supervisor, who after quit.
Sarah Schielke, an attorney for the family, said the announcement of charges left more questions than answers and more concern than relief, and Sarah Schielke said the family wants to see Loveland’s police chief resign and the whole department investigated over its practices.
Sarah Schielke held a press conference soon after McLaughlin’s, with Karen Garner’s daughter Allisa Swartz and daughter in law Shannon Steward.
Sarah Schielke asked that District attorneys have no difficulty throwing the book at normal citizens. Why was the district attorney’s office so thoughtful and forgiving in their charges of the officers involved in this?
Let’s hope that the lady’s condition means that she’s forgotten the incident because this was shocking and brutal.
These officers were supposed to serve and protect, but then again, some people aren’t fit to be police officers, and nothing says brace and heroic like assaulting an old woman and then celebrating it.
Of course, most police do their duties which they sign up for knowing full well what the work involves, and they swear an oath to do that job, they’re trained to do that job, they’re paid to do that job, and if at any time they choose they no longer want to be police officers, then they’re free to resign and do something else.
When they do the job well, then they should be praised, but when they abuse the public trust, then they should be held accountable. At the end of the day, police are just people, and on rare occasions, some do go beyond their training and duty to bring honour to their profession, and sometimes they just bring disgrace, and that’s the reality.