73-year-old woman with dementia files civil rights lawsuit after arrest in Loveland

State

LOVELAND, Colo. (KDVR) — A Loveland civil rights attorney at The Life & Liberty Law Office filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Loveland Police Department on Wednesday on the behalf of a 73-year-old woman who was arrested in June.

Attorney Sarah Schielke’s lawsuit claims violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as claims against the Loveland Police Department for failing to train regarding the use of force on disabled, unarmed citizens.

The civil rights lawsuit stems from the arrest of 73-year-old Karen Garner on June 26, 2020.

In the body camera footage, an officer can be heard saying, “Ma’am, I don’t think you want to play it this way,” as the officer appears to stop his patrol vehicle and approach Garner.

“You just left Walmart, do you need to be arrested right now,” asked the officer. Garner, seemingly confused, repeatedly replied “I’m going home.”

Within a few seconds, Garner is on the ground being handcuffed.

Moments later, a second officer arrives on scene.

Garner is walked to the patrol car in cuffs, repeatedly saying, “I’m going home.” Both officers take Garner out of the patrol vehicle, put her on the ground, and proceed to use restraints to tie her feet together.

The lawsuit states that medical attention was not offered to Garner, despite her allegedly repeated complaints of pain.

“Despite the visible dislocation of her arm from her shoulder, and Ms. Garner’s repeated complaints of pain while on scene and in the several hours she remained in their care and control that followed, none of the defendant officers nor anyone else at the Loveland Police Department ever sought medical care for Ms. Garner, in violation of Loveland Police’s written policies regarding use of force and injuries.”

“No one ever obtained mental health assistance for the observably mentally disabled Ms. Garner. Instead, the officers handcuffed her to a cell at the station for over 2 hours, keeping her isolated and terrified, in extreme pain, and then deposited her at the Larimer County jail where they lied and said she was uninjured, which ensured she continued to not receive medical treatment for another 3 hours. By the time jail deputies realized Ms. Garner was in fact injured and transported her to the ER, her arm looked like this.”

THE LIFE & LIBERTY LAW OFFICE OF SARAH SCHIELKE

Garner suffered a dislocated shoulder and a fractured wrist, according to her attorney.

According to Garner’s attorney, Garner was arrested for leaving Walmart and forgetting to pay for $13.88 worth of items.

“Nearly 20 percent of all adults of Ms. Garner’s age or more are suffering from some form of dementia,” shared Garner’s attorney.

All charges against Garner were dropped.

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