By Leigh Paterson: For Entire Post, Click Here…
Nearly a year after police officers in Loveland, Colorado, injured an elderly woman with dementia and then laughed at footage of her arrest, two of those officers are facing criminal charges while the rest of the department undergoes additional training. The fallout has drawn national attention to a problem that experts say is widespread across law enforcement agencies: Police often lack the skills to interact with people with mental and physical disabilities.
Last June, a Walmart employee called police after Karen Garner, 73 at the time, tried to leave without paying for $14 worth of items. Soon after, Officer Austin Hopp’s body camera video showed, he pulled over beside her as she walked down a road and wrestled her to the ground in handcuffs after she failed to respond to his questions. Afterward, Garner’s lawyers say, she sat in jail for several hours with a dislocated and fractured shoulder as Hopp and two other officers laughed while watching the body camera video.
According to a federal complaint, Garner has dementia and also suffers from sensory aphasia, which impairs her ability to understand. Her violent arrest has other elderly people worried about potential encounters with police, Loveland resident June Dreith told Police Chief Robert Ticer during a public meeting last month.