Former Colorado police officer sentenced to prison two years after violent arrest of a 73-year old woman

Austin Hopp, a former Loveland, Colorado police officer, was sentenced this week to three years in prison for his violent arrest of a 73-year old woman with dementia in 2020, during which he broke her arm.

Hopp originally faced up to eight years in prison for the assault of Karen Garner when he responded to a theft call from a Walmart in Loveland two years ago. On the day of the arrest, Hopp arrived at the Walmart after it reported a woman trying to steal about $14 worth of items. Store employees had recovered the items and Garner, the woman in question, left the store and began walking home.

As she picked wildflowers along the side of the road, Hopp approached her in his patrol vehicle. He is then seen on body cam footage approaching her on foot, threatening to arrest her. Garner, who was 73 at the time, kept walking away, and Hopps is heard on the video asking her, “I don’t think you want to play it this way … Do you need to be arrested right now?”

He then quickly moved to arrest her, grabbing her arms and wrenching them back behind her, before forcing Garner to the ground, breaking her arm and dislocating her shoulder in the process. She was then taken to the police department, where security footage showed Hopps watching the footage with some colleagues, and making fun of the arrest of what they called a “senile” and “ancient” person.

Hopps expressed remorse in court at the sentencing hearing, apologizing and taking responsibility for Garner’s injuries. 

“This case is not about a mistake,” said Larimer County District Judge Michelle Brinegar. “This [is] about a young officer who used his position of power and authority to show off his toughness, disregarded any sense of humanity and showed an alarming deal of criminal thinking.”




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Laura is a freelance writer out of Maryland and a mom of three. Her background is in political science and international relations, and she has been doing political writing and editing for 17 years. Laura has also written parenting pieces for the Today Show and is currently working on writing a collection of remarkable true stories about normal people. She writes for FBA because unbiased news is vital to unity, and readers deserve the facts free of opinion.

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