FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) — A former Colorado police officer who failed to stop another officer from being tough on a 73-year-old woman with dementia was sentenced Friday to 45 days in jail and three years probation. .
Daria Jalali previously pleaded guilty in the arrest of Karen Garner in Loveland, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of Denver, in 2020. He faced up to 60 days in jail for failing to intervene, a crime created by lawmakers as part of a police reform bill passed during protests over racial injustice and police brutality in 2020.
Former Officer Austin Hopp arrested Garner after he walked out of a store without paying for approximately $14 worth of items. Police body camera video released last year shows Garner repeatedly saying that he was trying to go home.
After Garner walks away from him, footage shows Hopp grabbing her arm, pushing her to the ground and handcuffing her. Later, he pushed her against the hood of her car, and after she tries to roll away from her, he swings his bent left arm up near her head. Shortly after, Garner began to slump to the ground. Jalali, who arrived after Garner was handcuffed, says, “Get up! We’re not going to hold you back.”
Hopp was sentenced in May to five years in prison. for his treatment of Garner. Loveland settled a lawsuit brought by Garner for $3 million. Her family has said that her condition deteriorated after her arrest and, as a result, she requires 24-hour care.
Jalali apologized to Garner and his family in court. the Loveland Reporter-Herald reported. She told Judge Joshua Lehman that she thought Garner was intoxicated and believed Garner was only complaining about his handcuffs so she could free herself from them.
“I wanted to be a good police officer and my heart was in the right place, but I still fell short,” she said.
Jalali’s attorney, Anna Geigle, said Loveland police and another department allowed her to stay on the job despite a pattern of poor performance recorded in her personnel files. A neuropsychological evaluation showed that Jalali did not have the “psychological setup” to act with the precision and insight expected of police officers, she said.
Lehman said Jalali should have known Garner was a “delicate” woman with a mental health problem.
“It just sounds out of it and terrified to me,” she said after viewing body camera footage of the arrest for the first time in court. “The fact that two law enforcement officers couldn’t understand that is incomprehensible to me.”
Garner’s son, John Steward, told the judge that Jalali had no idea the stress, pain and sadness the arrest has caused his family.
“We all have choices to make in life, and all of our choices have consequences,” he said. “I ask that justice be done for my mother today.”
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