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DA's Office says independent review of Karen Garner arrest expected to be completed by mid-May

Karen Garner
Posted at 2:06 PM, May 10, 2021

DENVER – The 8th Judicial District’s Critical Incident Response Team’s independent review of the violent arrest of a woman with dementia in Loveland is expected to be completed sometime this month, the district attorney’s office said Friday.

The review of the June 2020 arrest of Karen Garner by Loveland police officers was initiated on April 19 a week after an attorney for Garner filed a federal lawsuit against the police department and officers claiming they used excessive force in arresting Garner — allegedly breaking her arm and dislocating her shoulder in the process.

Fort Collins Police Services was tapped to lead the independent investigation. The CIRT said the investigative team is working to interview nearly two-dozen people linked to the incident, reviewing “several hours” of video, and looking at all the documentation made regarding the incident starting with what happened at Walmart before Garner’s arrest, all the way through her medical treatment.

“Timeliness of the investigation is important, but we cannot sacrifice accurateness or dependability for speed. I am confident that this is necessary depth of work will provide reliable answers to the community about this incident,” 8th Judicial District Attorney Gordon McLaughlin said in a statement.

The DA’s Office said the investigative team will likely finish the investigation mid-May and present it to McLaughlin, who will determine if any crimes were committed. There is also an internal review ongoing within the city of Loveland’s human resources department.

On April 30, Loveland Police Chief Robert Ticer said the two arresting officers – Austin Hopp and Daria Jalali – were no longer employed by the department, nor was Tyler Blackett, a community service officer seen on video along with the other two officers laughing and joking about Garner’s arrest.

Police Sgt. Phillip Metzler, a supervisor involved in the incident, remains on administrative leave. Sgt. Antolina Hill, a supervisor at the jail where Garner was booked, remains on duty.

Garner’s attorney, Sarah Schielke, said that outcome for those officers was “long overdue” but said Metzler and Hill should also be gone from the department. Other Loveland residents on Monday called for Ticer, the police chief, to resign.

Ticer said at the meeting that officers within the department will be taking new training to help them better handle people in crisis.