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  • Writer's pictureMario Nicolais

How can we make sense out of Karen Garner’s ordeal at the hands of Loveland police?

For a few weeks, I have been haunted by arrest of Karen Garner.

Garner is the 73-year-old woman with dementia who had her arm fractured, shoulder dislocated and wrist sprained by Loveland Police officers who wrestled her to the ground for allegedly shoplifting soda and laundry detergent last year. I still cannot make it through the graphic body camera footage without becoming nauseous.

The incident is just one reason I highlighted misuse of force by law enforcement as a separate but overlapping systematic problem with racial disparity when George Floyd’s murderer was convicted. I wrote that officers’ “expectant aggression too often finds an outlet in minority communities.” The simple reason is that minority communities are more vulnerable.

And so are people living with dementia. That is why Garner incurred such brutality.

There are 23 seconds between the time Officer Austin Hopp initially exited his patrol car, called out to Garner walking along the roadway and when he wrenched her arm behind her back and forced her to the ground. The smiling but obviously confused Garner had no idea why she had been stopped, much less what horror was about to befall her.

Read the rest of this column in The Colorado Sun.

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