DENVER – A police officer who arrested a 73-year-old 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 into the arrest.
The moves came a day after Karen Garner filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Loveland and police officers over her June 2020 arrest. Two other officers targeted in the lawsuit — a backup officer and a supervisory sergeant — have been reassigned to administrative duties, the Loveland Police Department said.
“LPD takes very seriously the allegations concerning the arrest of resident Karen Garner, and shares with the community the concerns about video images that became public on Wednesday,” the department said in a statement.
Police body camera video included as part of Garner's lawsuit 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 despite him following her in a patrol car with his lights on, the video shows.
When she then turns her back to him and starts walking away, the video shows the officer quickly grab one of her arms, puts it behind her back and pushes her 80-pound (36-kilogram) body to the ground and puts 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.”