A former Colorado police officer has been sentenced to 45 days behind bars and another three years of probation for not stopping a fellow officer who used too much force when arresting a 73-year-old woman who had dementia and was accused of shoplifting.
Daria Jalali had pleaded guilty to failing to intervene in the use of excessive force when a former officer, Austin Hopp, arrested Karen Garner in 2020 in Loveland, Colorado, The Associated Press reported.
The charge is a class 1 misdemeanor, according to the Loveland Reporter-Herald.
Garner had walked out of a store without paying for about $14 worth of items.
When Hopp stopped Garner, she kept telling Hopp that she was trying to go home, and walked away from the officer.
Police body camera video showed Garner turning away and Hopp grabbing her arm and pushing her to the ground before handcuffing the woman. Video also showed Hopp pushing the woman to the police car and when she tried to turn around, he bent her arm up to her head, the AP reported.
Garner eventually slumped to the ground. Jalali arrived on the scene after Garner was already handcuffed and told the woman “Standup! We’re not going to hold you.”
Jalali testified that she did not know of Garner’s medical condition and thought that the woman had been drunk and was complaining about the handcuffs so she could get out of them.
Garner had a dislocated shoulder and broken arm as a result of the arrest, according to the Reporter-Herald.
Garner also sat in jail for hours without medical attention, CBS News reported.
Jalali apologized to Garner and her family in court.
Jalali’s lawyer accused the Loveland police and another police department of allowing her client to stay on the job despite reports of poor performance in her personnel files, the AP reported.
A neuropsychological evaluation claimed that Jalali didn’t have the “psychological makeup” needed for police officers.
Jalali’s lawyer said her client’s “actions in this case were not malicious or intentional,” CBS News reported.
The judge overseeing the case called it “incomprehensible,” according to the Reporter-Herald.
“It is just tragic that this even happened and it was compounded by your continuous choices that you made throughout the two hours you were with her,” the judge told Jalali, on Friday, the newspaper reported. “You need to recognize that.”
In addition to jail and probation, Jalali must also do 250 hours of community service, undergo a mental health evaluation and stay away from Garner’s family. The former officer must also be employed with at least 35 hours of work a week, CBS News reported.
Garner’s family sued Loveland and settled for $3 million after they said the woman’s condition deteriorated after the incident. They said she now needs around-the-clock care because of the incident.
Hopp was sentenced in May to five years in prison for his part in the arrest, the AP reported.
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