Ex-officer sentenced in rough arrest of woman with dementia

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FILE – This video from Loveland Police Department body camera footage shows Karen Garner on the ground while being arrested on June 26, 2020. A former Colorado police officer who did not stop another officer from being rough with the 73-year-old woman with dementia has been sentenced to 45 days in jail and three years of probation. Daria Jalali was sentenced Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, in Fort Collins, Colo. (Loveland Police Department via AP, File)

FORT COLLINS |  A former Loveland police officer who did not stop another officer from being rough with a 73-year-old woman with dementia was sentenced Friday to 45 days in jail and three years of probation.

Daria Jalali earlier pleaded guilty in the arrest of Karen Garner in Loveland in 2020. She had 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 she left a store without paying for about $14 worth of items. Police body camera video released last year shows Garner repeatedly saying that she was trying to go home.

After Garner turns away from him, the footage shows Hopp grabbing her arm and pushing her to the ground and handcuffing her. Later, he pushed her against the hood of his car and, after she tries to turn around, he moves her bent left up arm up near her head. Soon after, Garner began to slump toward the ground. Jalali, who arrived after Garner was handcuffed, says, “Stand up! We’re not going to hold you.”

Hopp was sentenced in May to five years in prison for his treatment of Garner. Loveland settled a lawsuit filed by Garner for $3 million. Her family has said her condition deteriorated after her arrest and she requires around-the-clock care as a result.

Jalali apologized to Garner and her 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 her handcuffs so she could get out of them.

“I wanted to be a good police officer and my heart was in the right place, but I still came up short,” she said.

Jalali’s lawyer, Anna Geigle, said Loveland police and another department let her stay on the job despite a pattern of poor performance recorded in her personnel files. A neuropsychological evaluation showed Jalali did not have the “psychological makeup” to act with the precision and awareness expected of police officers, she said.

Lehman said Jalali should have known Garner was a “delicate” woman suffering from a mental health issue.

“She just sounds out of it and terrified to me,” he said after watching body camera footage from the arrest for the first time in court. “The fact that two law enforcement officers couldn’t comprehend that is incomprehensible to me.”

Garner’s son, John Steward, told the judge Jalali had no idea of the stress, pain and sadness the arrest has caused his family.

“We all have choices to make in life, and all our choices have consequences,” he said. “I ask that justice be served for my mom today.”

 

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john wilson
john wilson
1 month ago

Tough time to be a cop, especially in Colorado…

sugar
sugar
1 month ago
Reply to  john wilson

yeah. . .when police get caught on camera showing no compassion and brute force, they get punished.
That’s how it is supposed to work.

Don Black
Don Black
1 month ago

Sad miscarriage of justice. Criminals are not getting sentences for intentional acts of violence. An officer doing her job, who did not intervene in what was an accidental injury to a fragile female is now no longer able to do police work and is branded some kind of criminal. No one should be surprised when officers leave or no longer try to do the job.

Bart Emanuel
Bart Emanuel
1 month ago
Reply to  Don Black

You used to be a cop and you’re bemoaning cops getting held accountable for not stopping one of their fellows from brutalizing an old lady? No wonder APD is in such horrible shape.

Patricia
Patricia
1 month ago

Even if this woman did not have dementia it was no way for police to treat an elderly person. Oh gee poor police being held accountable for being abusive.

Jason
Jason
1 month ago

She had plenty of opportunity to get help for Karen Garner, and she failed. I hope that Hopp’s sentence is considerably more harsh than this.