LOVELAND, Colo. (CBS4) — The family of Karen Garner, the woman living with dementia who was forcefully arrested by Loveland Police in 2020, says they accepted a $3 million settlement after finding a letter Karen wrote after her diagnosis. The family, who sued LPD over civil rights violations allegations, said the letter helped them make the decision to accept the payout and use it for Karen's care.
Sarah Schielke, the lawyer representing the Garner family, read a portion of the letter that was discovered while cleaning out Karen's home.
"I want the best and fullest lives possible for my children and grandchildren. I feel the world is getting crueler. Don't make it any rougher for yourselves by living in the past. Look out the front window, don't dwell on what's in the rearview mirror," Garner wrote in the note, dated from years ago.
Garner is in declining health. The family said she does not speak often, and doesn't discuss what happened in June of 2020 when she was accused of trying to steal $13.88 worth of merchandise from Walmart.
Schielke said the family intended to push the court process through a trial. However, when the family found the letter, the Garner's believed it was Karen's way of telling them what was best for all involved.
"We thought that God had given us her words when she couldn't provide them for us. It gave us a great sense of relief, and they gave us a great sense of humility and just a feeling that we were acting in her best interest as we were moving forward," said Shannon Steward, Garner's daughter-in-law.
Schielke speculated that the $3 million payout was possibly record breaking for a settlement that didn't involve death or permanent disfigurement.
"$13.88 is the business interests that Loveland believe was worth inflicting this atrocity. Today they pay Ms. Garner $3 million," Schielke said. "She now requires around the clock care, and she'll have the best the world can offer."
"This is justice for mom. This is justice for my mom," said Allisa Swartz, Garner's daughter.
The Garner Family now wants changes in leadership at LPD.
Schielke offered Chief Robert Ticer $50,000 to the dementia or Alzheimer's charity of his choice if he resigned his position.
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