Friday, 12 Aug 2022

45 days in jail for former Loveland police officer in Karen Garner case

A former Loveland police officer who failed to stop one of her co-workers from assaulting a 73-year-old woman with dementia will serve more than a month in jail and years on probation for her crime.

Larimer County Judge Joshua Lehman on Friday sentenced Daria Jalali to 45 days in jail, three years of probation and 250 hours of community service for failing to intervene in another officer’s excessive force. The maximum possible sentence was 60 days in jail and five years of probation.

Jalali in June pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge, which state lawmakers created in 2020 through a police accountability bill passed in the wake of the protests of George Floyd’s murder by a Minneapolis police officer.

“While the harm to Ms. Garner can never be undone, today’s sentencing of Ms. Jalali does close a dark chapter for our community with a strong message that those who use excessive force will be held accountable,” Eighth Judicial District Attorney Gordon McLaughlin said in a news release.

Jalali arrived on scene as former Loveland officer Austin Hopp violently arrested 73-year-old Karen Garner. Staff at a Loveland Walmart called 911 to report that Garner had attempted to walk out of the store with $13 of merchandise, though she returned the items before leaving.

Hopp contacted her as she walked home. Within 30 seconds, he forced the 5-foot-2-inch, 80-pound grandmother to the ground, handcuffed her and, with the help of Jalali, held her against his police cruiser. Hopp wrenched Garner’s arm backward as Jalali yelled at Garner, who repeatedly told the officers she was trying to go home.

“A little bloody, a little muddy, that’s how it works,” Jalali said when a supervisor who arrived on the scene asked how they were doing, body camera footage showed.

The officers later laughed about the incident and ignored Garner’s pleas for help while she was locked in a holding cell.

Hopp dislocated Garner’s shoulder and fractured her arm. The assault significantly worsened Garner’s dementia symptoms and she was unable to live independently after the arrest, Garner’s family has said.

Hopp was sentenced in May to five years in prison for assaulting Garner.

The arrest — captured on body camera — gained national attention after Garner’s family sued Loveland and released the footage. The attention spawned protests, criminal prosecutions, a $3 million civil settlement and internal investigations at the northern Colorado police department.

“Their reckless overreaction, their blatant disregard for citizens in our community, the celebration of their actions, their coverup; it showed a fundamental disregard for the basic duties to protect and serve and to act with integrity and honesty,” McLaughlin said.

Neither Hopp nor Jalali will be able to work as police officers in Colorado again, McLaughlin said.

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