Ex-Colorado police officer sentenced for not intervening in arrest of woman with dementia

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A former Colorado police officer was sentenced to 45days in jail and three years probation Friday for not intervening when a fellow officer arrested and injured a 73-year-old woman with dementia in June 2020.

The former officer, Daria Jalali, pleaded guilty in the abusive arrest of Karen Garner after an incident in Loveland, Colorado. In 2020, the state passed a police accountability bill under which law enforcement officers could be charged if they fail to intervene during police brutality.

Austin Hopp, the former officer who arrested Garner after she left a store without paying for about $14 worth of items, was sentenced in May to five years in prison for his rough treatment of Garner. The Loveland Police Department settled a lawsuit that paid Garner $3 million. Her family alleged her condition was exacerbated by the arrest.

Police body camera footage showed an exchange between Hopp and Garner, who repeatedly said she was trying to go home. Hopp grabbed the woman's arm, pushed her to the ground and handcuffed her before pushing her up against the hood of his car. Hopp moved the woman's bent arm up near her head.

Garner has dementia and did not understand what was happening or how to answer the officer's questions, her family said. She repeated, "I'm going home" several times instead of answering Hopp and Jalali's questions.

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Jalali shouted, "Stand up! We’re not going to hold you." She maintained to the court that she didn't know Garner was injured when she was detained in the booking area at the police department.

Jalali asked Garner whether she needed medical attention several times, but Garner didn't respond and asked for her credit card. Jalali told the court that the department's policy is to call for medical attention only when there's an obvious injury or the arrestee asks for it.

Jalali apologized to Garner and her family in court: "I wanted to be a good police officer, and my heart was in the right place, but I still came up short."

Judge Joshua Lehman told the court after viewing the body camera footage, "She just sounds out of it and terrified to me. The fact that two law enforcement officers couldn’t comprehend that is incomprehensible to me."

Contributing: Sady Swanson, Fort Collins Coloradoan; The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Ex-Colorado police officer sentenced in arrest of woman with dementia