LOVELAND, Colo. (CBS4) – Following the resignation of three employees of the Loveland Police Department because of fallout from last summer’s arrest of Karen Garner, hundreds of people are expected to protest outside of department headquarters on Saturday.
“We have people from both sides that have come together. We have people that support law enforcement, we have people that think all cops are bad. I think everyone can unanimously agree this is not OK. Everyone, for the most part, can unanimously agree that this is something that is not OK,” said protest organizer Morgan Goldschmidt.READ MORE: Park Hill Residents File Lawsuit Against Safe Outdoor Space For Homeless In Church Parking Lot
After body camera footage of the incident quickly spread online between Loveland police officers and Garner, a 73-year-old woman with dementia, Goldschmidt said she felt the need to act. For the past decade, she’s been a nurse and the incident reminded her of too many patients she’s helped treat.
“It was very apparent to me when Karen Garner turned around, she wasn’t fully coherent of her surroundings. Her face is one that I’ve seen in people I’ve taken care of over the years and it’s something I don’t think I’ll ever forget,” Goldschmidt said.
A Facebook post about a call to action turned into an organized event. Originally Goldschmidt thought a few dozen people would show up. Hundreds have said they want to take part at noon on Saturday. As an organizer, she’s stressing a peaceful event to send a message to the department change is needed.READ MORE: Busy Friday Night In Downtown Denver Could Signal Trend Toward Post-Pandemic Life
“We, obviously, don’t ever want this to happen again. More training on people with disabilities and mental health and how to effectively communicate with them. Potentially setting up a citizen review board that can oversee when incidents like this happen. Because this happened 10 months ago and the fact it went under the rug this long, no one is OK with that,” she said.
“We failed and we are very sorry for that,” Loveland Police Chief Robert Ticer said at a press conference on Friday morning. “I share the community’s concerns on this. It, it hurt to see that. I have been in law enforcement 32 years and what I saw there, hurt me personally.”
A representative from the Garner family will take flowers, cards, and other mementos back to Karen. Goldschmidt is asking people bring some of Garner’s favorite things like Pepsi and Kit-Kat bars.MORE NEWS: Colorado's Comeback: Moviegoers Return To Regal Theatres Amid COVID Safety Protocols
“We just want to show these officers that love, and empathy, and compassion will go so much farther. We want those values to be reflected in the police department and the people who serve us,” Goldschmidt said.