The City of Loveland and the family of Karen Garner have agreed to pre-trial mediation in hopes of settling the City's part of the lawsuit.
The police sergeant named in the lawsuit still works for the City, and I suspect they ARE paying for his defense in the civil suit because so far we haven't heard about any criminal charges against him. So far, he has gotten a slap on the wrist - some minor suspension, if even that. In my opinion, he is every bit as guilty as the two younger officers who were forced to resign and are facing criminal charges because he went to the site of the arrest, was a witness to Karen Garner's age and condition, ran off a passerby who tried to intervene because he thought the cops were using excessive force, and he's older and more experienced.
At the least he should have made sure that the proper excessive force reports were filed and that the prisoner was treated responsibly. He is the epitome of what is wrong with that police department that has given it a reputation for bullying when they can get away with it, but I doubt he's going to take any heat for this incident as an individual. Oh, I'm sure there will be 'additional training' for all current officers and other police personnel, but he won't be singled out for his role in this incident.
"A mediation hearing has been set in the civil rights lawsuit filed on behalf of Karen Garner as the lawyers involved move closer to a resolution.
Originally the case was scheduled for a hearing to plan the proceeding schedule, but that hearing has been canceled because of the mediation meeting.
Mediation meetings are meant to bring together both parties in a lawsuit to discuss the case and any disputes that are held. These mediations are done with the help of a trained and impartial third party who helps in reaching a decision, be that a resolution to the case or the continuation of it if a resolution is not reached.
According to a motion filed with the United States District Court of Colorado, the originally scheduled hearing has been canceled in favor of mediation. The attorneys from both sides will meet at 9 a.m. July 7 with Judge William Neighbors of the Judicial Arbiter Group as the third, independent party.
The motion says that both sides have agreed that the case should be put on hold leading up to the mediation and a continuance of the scheduling conference would “conserve resources and promote the efficient administration of justice.”
Both sides have also requested that any scheduling conference, if necessary, be moved to the earliest possible date, with a hope for August or September.
Sarah Schielke, Garner’s attorney, said the Garner family is not going to decline the opportunity to resolve the case earlier if the terms of any potential resolution are appropriate.
“We want justice for Karen. We want justice for her family,” Schielke (plaintiff's lawyer) wrote in an email to the Reporter-Herald. “We want justice for this community. And justice that comes sooner is far more meaningful than justice that comes later. Of course whether the City of Loveland will rise to the task of even attempting to provide these things is yet to be seen. I do expect it’s something we will learn at mediation. ”
Schielke filed the original lawsuit in April, which alleged that excessive force was used to arrest Garner in 2020. The lawsuit initially named now former officers Austin Hopp and Daria Jalali, as well as Sgt. Phil Metzler for Garner’s arrest. A week later, as more video footage of Garner’s time at the police department after her arrest was released, now former community service officer Tyler Blackett and Sgt. Antolina Hill were added to the complaint.
While the civil rights lawsuit continues, Hopp and Jalali are facing criminal cases of their own after the Larimer County District Attorney’s Office formally charged them in May."