Shoplifting Suspect With Dementia Sues Police

'I'm going home,' woman told officer as she was being handcuffed
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 15, 2021 6:10 PM CDT
Shoplifting Suspect With Dementia Sues Police
Karen Garner was arrested last June.   (Allisa Swartz via AP)

A police officer who arrested a 73-year-old Colorado woman with dementia, pushing her to the ground and handcuffing her, after she walked away from a store without paying for about $14 worth of items last year was placed on administrative leave Thursday pending the outcome of a police investigation. Karen Garner filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday against the city of Loveland and police officers over her June 2020 arrest, the AP reports. Two other officers named in the suit—a backup officer and a supervisory sergeant—have been reassigned to administrative duties, the Loveland Police Department said. Police body camera video shows an officer approaching her as she walked through a field along a road last summer where she had been picking wildflowers. She shrugs with her arms outstretched when he questions why she did not stop when he followed her in a patrol car with his lights on, the video shows.

When she turns her back to him and starts walking away, the video shows the officer grab one of her arms, put it behind her back and push her 80-pound body to the ground. He then put her in handcuffs as she looks confused and repeatedly says, "I am going home." She initially holds on to the flowers in her restrained hands behind her back, the video shows. When the video shows her questioning what is happening, the officer says: "I told you to stop. You don't get to act this way." The footage later shows Garner being held against the hood of the patrol car with her left arm bent up next to her head. The officer implies in the video that she is trying to kick him, but her legs are not visible. Soon she starts to slide toward the ground, and the video shows another officer who had recently arrived yelling: "Stand up! We're not going to hold you!" In addition to her physical injuries, the lawsuit claims Garner now experiences fear, trauma and anxiety whenever she leaves her home.

(Read more dementia stories.)

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