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Ex-Colorado Cop Gets 45 Days For Assaulting Elderly Woman With Dementia During Arrest

Daria Jalali, a former police officer from Loveland, Colorado, pleaded guilty in June to failure to intervene in the use of excessive force after her partner assaulted Karen Garner, an elderly woman with dementia, during a shoplifting arrest.

By Dorian Geiger
Loveland Police Department body camera footage shows Karen Garner

A former Colorado police officer who failed to intervene in the violent arrest of a 73-year-old woman with dementia two years ago will spend more than a month behind bars.

Ex-Loveland police officer Daria Jalali was sentenced to 45 days in jail for her role in the brutal 2020 arrest of Karen Garner, prosecutors announced on Friday. Jalali pleaded guilty in June for failure to intervene in the use of excessive force failing to stop fellow officer Austin Hopp in Garner’s brutal arrest. 

Jalali is the first person to be convicted on that particular charge, the Loveland Reporter-Herald reported. She faces three years probation upon her release.

Garner, who suffered a dislocated shoulder and a fracture to her upper arm bone in the 2020 incident, lives with dementia and sensory aphasia. She’d been accused of shoplifting about $13 worth of merchandise from Walmart.

The judge in the case described Jalali's actions as “incomprehensible.”

“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,” 8th Judicial District Court Judge Joshua Lehman told Jalali in court on Friday. “You need to recognize that.”

During her sentencing, Jalali apologized to Garner and her loved ones in court.

"I wanted to be a good police officer and my heart was in the right place, but I still came up short," she said, the Loveland Reporter-Herald reported.

Jalali was remanded into custody immediately following the ruling, according to the Fort Collins Coloradoan. 

Karen Garner Ap

Hopp confronted Garner after she left a local Walmart without paying her items on June 26, 2020. According to body camera footage of the incident, Garner repeatedly stated that she was trying to get home. Hopp shoved the 73-year-old woman up against the hood of his car and then dislocated her shoulder after she attempted to turn around. She collapsed to the ground.

Jalali arrived shortly thereafter.

"Stand up!” Jalali shouted at Garner after arriving on scene, after the elderly woman had been placed in handcuffs. “We're not going to hold you."

Moments later, body camera footage also appeared to capture Hopp gleefully recounting the incident.

“I love it,” Hopp said after handcuffing Garner to a bench. “I can’t believe I threw a 73-year-old to the ground.”

Separate video footage that was later released by Garner's legal team also showed Jalali laughing and trading fist bumps while watching the body camera footage of Garner’s arrest at a local precinct.

“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,” Gordon P. McLaughlin, the district attorney for Colorado's 8th Judicial District, said in a statement on Aug. 5. “Importantly, in addition to their respective jail and prison sentences, neither Ms. Jalali nor Mr. Hopp will ever be a police officer again.”

McLaughlin described Garner’s assault as “tragic” and a “massive betrayal of community trust.”

“My sympathy goes out to the Garner family, and I appreciate their powerful statements at today’s sentencing,” McLaughlin added. “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.”

Police handouts of Austin Hopp and Daria Jalali

Hopp pleaded guilty to second-degree assault related to Garner’s botched arrest in Mat. He has already been sentenced to five years in prison.

"The Loveland Police Department is grateful for the District Attorney's diligence and pursuit of due process during this very important case,” Interim Police Chief Eric Stewart then said in a statement. “While this will not change the terrible treatment Ms. Garner experienced, we hope that this sentence can bring some measure of justice to her and her family."  

Oxygen.com has reached out to the Loveland Police Department for comment following Jalali's sentencing.

Garner previously filed a lawsuit against the Loveland Police Department for use of excessive force and serious bodily injury during an arrest, which is what initially led to a formal investigation into the incident.

Anna Geigle, Hopp's attorney, declined to comment on the case when contacted on Monday.

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