Austin Hopp, ‘Ready for the Pop?’ Loveland Cop, Sentenced for Violent Arrest of Dementia Patient Karen Garner
Austin Hopp will only serve 5 years in prison after terminating his contract brutal attack broke the wrist and patted the 73-year-old man on the shoulder Dementia patient Karen Garner. She subsequently received a $3 million settlement from Colorado’s Loveland Police Department over the incident.
Hopp tried to catch Garner after she left a Walmart store with about $15 worth of items she forgot to pay. She was ready to leave the merchandise after being stopped by the staff, but the store later called the police about the attempted theft of the merchandise.
Hopp and his partner, Officer Daria Jalali, then approached Garner, follow their body-cam. When she ignored them and appeared confused about the theft allegations – common in dementia patients – Hopp snatched her, threw her to the ground and arrested her. The video shows her still holding the flowers she picked in the street as she was handcuffed.
As the two officers returned to the restricted area, they joked about the arrest with Hopp laughing, saying “Ready for pop?” before Garner’s role becomes apparent in the video. Other officers laughed at the footage and joked about her arrest and struggles, according to surveillance video in the police station. “I think it was her shoulder,” Hopp later said, adding, “I can’t believe I threw a 73-year-old man on the ground.”
Jalali was found guilty of three misdemeanors in the incident, including failure to report excessive use of force, failure to interfere with excessive use of force and first-degree official misconduct. She won’t face jail time. Community Services Officer Tyler Blackett, as well as Sgt. Phil Metzler and Sgt. Antonina Hill, all named in a lawsuit brought by Garner. Jalali, Blackett and Hopp resign in April 2021. The others are on administrative leave.
Hopp, on the other hand, faced 32 years in prison but struck a settlement where he pleaded guilty, reducing the sentence to a maximum of eight years – a move the Garner family opposed.
In court, Hopp said he took full responsibility for his “terrible actions” that day. The sentencing judge said he showed “alarming levels of criminal thinking that day,” according to a local news station NBCadded that his actions were “willful and deceptive.”
At the sentencing hearing, Garner’s family members filled the courtroom as the judge sentenced the former officer to just five years in prison. After the hearing, they told local reporters they could begin the traumatic “closure” process of the past two years. Garner is living in a local memory care facility and her family told reporters her condition had worsened and that she had “no idea” about the sentencing hearing.