A Colorado police officer was handed a prison sentence for his role in the violent arrest of a 73-year-old woman with dementia.

Austin Hopp, a former police officer with the Loveland Police Department, was sentenced to five years in prison with three years of parole on Thursday. Larimer County District Court Judge Michelle Brinegar described Hopp as having abused his "position of power" in his execution of the arrest, according to the Denver Post.

"This case is not about a mistake," Brinegar said. "This is about a young officer who used his position of power and authority to show off his toughness, disregarded any sense of humility, and showed an alarming deal of criminal thinking."


The call officials received about petty shoplifting that precipitated Garner's arrest should not have escalated to violence, Brinegar said in court, noting 26 seconds elapsed from when Hopp exited his vehicle to the moment he grabbed Garner's arm and tackled her to the ground.

"I am truly ashamed of my actions," Hopp said on Thursday, addressing Garner, her family, and the community of Loveland. Hopp admitted that he had "misjudged" the situation and accepted responsibility for his role in the incident, according to the outlet.

Garner may have forgotten to pay for the items she was accused of stealing, her family said, adding that the woman's health and memory had deteriorated after this incident.

"This made the disease progress much faster, taking that much more time away from us," Garner's son, John Stewart, said, according to the outlet.

Hopp's attorney, Jonathan Datz, admitted there was no excuse for his client's actions but asked Brinegar to see the humanity in him, although Hopp "failed to see the humanity in Ms. Garner that day," according to the outlet.

"This was a tragic case and a massive betrayal of community trust," District Attorney Gordon McLaughlin said in a statement on Thursday. "No matter what the sentence today, the harm to Ms. Garner can never be undone but we can hold criminal conduct accountable & deter it from occurring again."

In March, Hopp pleaded guilty to second-degree assault for the arrest of Karen Garner. The then-officer arrested Garner on June 26, 2020, while she was walking along a road after officials received a call claiming she attempted to steal almost $14 in merchandise from Walmart. Employees had instructed Garner to return the items, and the criminal charges against her had been dropped.

Daria Jalali, another officer, arrived at the scene and assisted Hopp with Garner's arrest, according to video footage of the incident released by Garner's lawyer, Sarah Schielke, in April 2021. Hopp can be heard in the video, seemingly dislocating and fracturing Garner's shoulder as she is handcuffed.

Hopp showed the video of the incident to co-workers and asked them whether they were "ready for the pop," according to a press release from Schielke obtained by the Washington Examiner.


Jalali was charged last May with failure to report excessive use of force, failure to intervene in excessive use of force, and misconduct for her role in the incident. Her next hearing is scheduled for June 22.

The Washington Examiner reached out to McLaughlin and Datz for comment.