A California sheriff’s deputy was charged Wednesday with assaulting a mentally disabled woman while on duty and lying about his actions, prosecutors said.
Konrad Thieme, 37, a former Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy, was charged with two felony counts of assault under the color of authority and a felony count of making false statements in a report while working last April, District Attorney George Gascón announced.
While responding to the woman’s home in Chatsworth along with two other deputies, Thieme allegedly assaulted the unarmed woman and then proceeded to falsify his account of his actions – some of which were captured on his body-worn camera, Gascón said.
“Police accountability is an essential component of a fair and just criminal legal system,” the district attorney said in a statement. “Our office will not tolerate abuses of power that result in criminal acts by law enforcement officers who are sworn to protect our community.”
Investigators presented the case to prosecutors in July – just three months later – but it’s unclear what took prosecutors until this month to file charges, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Thieme, who was assigned to the Lost Hills sheriff’s station, was relieved of his police duties the same day as the alleged assault, his supervisor told the newspaper.
The woman, meanwhile, filed a civil lawsuit against Los Angeles County in December. The filing alleges Thieme’s body-cam footage shows the deputy approach Sarah Jafari, who has a mental disability, as she walked backward with her hands out, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Unprovoked, Thieme then punched Jafari’s throat, causing her to fall backward onto her head before deputies shocked her with a Taser.
The deputy proceeded to grab Jafari by the hair and toss her into a patrol vehicle “like a ragdoll” before she was taken to a hospital for treatment, the lawsuit states.
But Thieme falsely wrote in his report Jafari had resisted arrest, the lawsuit claims. Deputies also returned to the home in an attempt to convince Jafari’s mother to say her daughter had a knife at the time, but she refused to do so, according to the suit.
In his report, Thieme wrote Jafari wasn’t following his orders and feared she was stalling to get a weapon, which she denied having at the time. He then tried to hit the woman’s torso, but inadvertently struck her neck, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Thieme said Jafari then rolled over and reached for her waistband as she kicked her legs at the deputies, causing him to deploy his Taser, according to the newspaper.