FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Two former law enforcement officials face legal fees for the way they dealt with the June 2020 arrest of a 73-year-old Colorado woman with dementia, prosecutors mentioned Wednesday.
Former officers Austin Hopp and Daria Jalali every face three fees associated to the arrest of Loveland, Colorado, resident Karen Garner, District Attorney Gordon McLaughlin introduced throughout an afternoon information convention.
“It is my ethical duty to apply the facts as they exist to the law as it is written,” McLaughlin mentioned. “Our considered decision in this case today is that criminal charges should and have been filed against two former Loveland police officers.”
Hopp is dealing with fees of second-degree assault, trying to affect a public servant and official misconduct in final yr’s arrest of Karen Garner in Loveland, a metropolis about 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of Denver. Daria Jalali, who arrived after Garner was handcuffed, is dealing with fees of failing to report use of drive, failing to intervene and official misconduct.
“While peace officers are permitted to use reasonable force to effect an arrest, the investigation in this case showed that Austin Hopp used excessive force in the arrest of Ms. Garner, and that resulted in serious bodily injury,” McLaughlin mentioned.
Hopp additionally made “substantial omissions” in his report of the arrest “in an attempt to thwart the investigation of his conduct,” McLaughlin mentioned.
McLaughlin mentioned the investigation confirmed Jalali witnessed the extreme drive and “failed to live up to her duties under the law and as a sworn peace officer to either intervene or report … that conduct.”
“I fully support these charges,” Loveland Police Chief Robert Ticer mentioned in a separate information convention Wednesday afternoon. Ticer mentioned the “charges stand for themselves” and “the actions and attitudes” of the previous officers “are in direct contrast to the culture we strive to achieve.”
“We understand the desire for accountability and justice and we are seeing that today for Ms. Garner with the charges being filed,” Ticer mentioned.
Ticer mentioned he was “not surprised by the charges,” and his response to these fees is “extreme disappointment as a community, as a police department and as a human being.”
Ticer mentioned a third-party investigation overseen by town of Loveland’s human assets division will start instantly and that his division will cooperate with the legal investigation.
Ticer cited three actions he mentioned the division has taken for the reason that lawsuit was filed:
“A majority of our police officers” have taken Alzheimer’s consciousness coaching and, beginning subsequent month, the division will put extra de-escalation coaching in place, he mentioned.
Dealing with dementia:First responders need to ‘slow down,’ ask questions, group says
An assistant metropolis lawyer is helping in a overview of all use of drive instances, beginning with instances in 2019 and with any future use of drive instances, he added.
“This extra layer of scrutiny is important not only to the department, but to the community, the community that we serve, to ensure the policies and laws are being followed.”
Ticer mentioned this incident doesn’t replicate an overarching situation throughout the police division’s tradition.
“Our officers that work here right now are integrity based, they have ethics, they have duty, they work so hard,” he mentioned. “… They do it the right way, the officers that are employed here today.”
Garner’s lawyer, Sarah Schielke, mentioned the costs towards Hopp and Jalali “a begin, however it’s not adequate.
“Make no mistake, the Garner household feels immense aid the DA’s workplace has charged some of these criminals with precise crimes.”
Schielke said she believed charges should have been filed against the other officers named in the federal lawsuit.
“Ultimately, the DA workplace’s resolution to cease their charging selections after Hopp and Jalali has left this household with extra questions than solutions and extra concern than aid,” Schielke mentioned.
This incident did not happen in a vacuum, Schielke said, or the other officers who witnessed and heard about the arrest would have stepped in to provide Garner with the medic
Garner’s daughter, Allisa Swartz, offered an update on her mother: “She’s simply actually scared and traumatized,” Swartz said. “Instead of embracing us as a result of we’re her family members, she pushes us away. She’s simply scared.”
How the investigation worked
The charges against Hopp and Jalali were filed as a result of a Critical Incident Response Team investigation launched by McLaughlin on April 19 and led by Fort Collins Police Services.
CIRT investigations typically involve a mix of officers from different agencies, but because officers from Loveland police and the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office had contact with Garner during her arrest, it was decided that only Fort Collins police would conduct the investigation.
“Trust is important in the legal justice system,” Fort Collins Police Chief Jeff Swoboda said during the district attorney’s news conference. “And CIRT framework is supposed to standardize investigations the place they place a premium on accountability and transparency.”
Three Fort Collins police detectives were assigned full time to this case, Swoboda said, and “left no stone unturned.”
During the monthlong investigation, they conducted 24 interviews, reviewed and transcribed hours of video and audio recordings, and presented their final nearly 700-page CIRT investigation report to McLaughlin on Monday, Swoboda said.
“Ensuring public belief in regulation enforcement and the legal justice system is important to our neighborhood security and our basic perception in equity,” McLaughlin said.
McLaughlin said the “thorough investigation” conducted by Fort Collins police “will permit us to maneuver ahead in the pursuit of justice in this case for Karen Garner, for her household and for the Larimer County neighborhood.”
“I imagine this resolution speaks clearly to our neighborhood that accountability shall be achieved by way of our unbiased Critical Incident Response Team course of, and I hope at present could be a step in constructing belief between the legal justice neighborhood and the Larimer County neighborhood,” McLaughlin said.
Why other officers aren’t facing criminal charges
Hopp and Jalali weren’t the one officers concerned in the incident. They, together with former neighborhood service officer Tyler Blackett, resigned from the department last month.
The three former officers and two officers still with the department — Sgt. Philip Metzler and Sgt. Antolina Hill — are named in a federal lawsuit filed April 14 by Garner’s family alleging excessive use of force and other civil rights violations.
Metzler, Hill, and Blackett were not charged as a result of the CIRT investigation.
Metzler has been placed on paid administrative leave, per department policy. Hill is still working her normal duties, Ticer said at the April 30 news conference.
McLaughlin said the investigation looked at all the officers involved in this case, and while he said there was evidence of concerning conduct, no other officers’ conduct rose to the level of criminal charges.
Garner was forcibly arrested while walking home from Walmart, where employees told police that she attempted to leave without paying for about $14 worth of items, according to the lawsuit.
During the arrest, officers dislocated Garner’s shoulder, fractured her arm, and sprained her wrist, according to the lawsuit.
‘I will not stand for someone looking the other way’
McLaughlin said he first became aware of this incident when the federal lawsuit was filed mid-April. When he viewed the publicly released videos in this case, he said he was “instantly involved with what I noticed.”
McLaughlin took office as district attorney on Jan. 12 and was not part of the district attorney’s office when Garner was arrested in June and when the office dropped the charges against her in August.
McLaughlin said someone in the district attorney’s office at the time did view some video in the case before deciding to dismiss charges against Garner and that person remains employed by the district attorney’s office.
“I’ve made it very clear to everybody in my workplace, attorneys and in any other case that I can’t stand for somebody wanting the opposite method on proof reminiscent of that,” McLaughlin said. “What the expectations had been final yr weren’t my resolution.”
Follow Sady Swanson on Twitter @sadyswan.
Contributing: The Associated Press.