A Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy has been charged with assaulting a woman last year while he was on duty and then lying about it, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Deputy Konrad Thieme and two other deputies responded to a disturbance call in the San Fernando Valley on April 10, 2021, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office. Thieme allegedly assaulted a 32-year-old woman there.
Prosecutors allege that Thieme then wrote a false account of what had occurred in a report. Parts of the incident were captured on his body-worn video camera.
The alleged victim, Sarah Jafari, filed a lawsuit in December against Los Angeles County and the deputy, alleging she was deprived of her civil rights during the assault. The lawsuit has since been moved to federal court and remains ongoing.
Thieme, 37, is charged with two felony counts of assault under the color of authority and one felony count of making false statements in a report. His arraignment has not yet been scheduled.
It was not immediately clear whether he had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.
“Police accountability is an essential component of a fair and just criminal legal system,” District Attorney George Gascón 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.”
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Deputy Alejandra Parra, a spokesperson for the sheriff's department, said that the agency investigated the alleged assault and presented the case to the prosecutors. Thieme is on paid administrative leave.
Representatives for Los Angeles County and the union that represents deputies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Vincent Miller, an attorney for Jafari, said in an interview that his client was homeless for a while after the alleged attack. She did not want to return to her mother's house because the Thieme and the other deputies knew where she had lived, Miller said.
"She’s lived in fear that he’s going to come back to her house and murder her, which is understandable,” Miller said. “She didn’t want to come home, she was terrified.”
Jafari's lawsuit said that she is “mentally disabled and suffers from a history of psychiatric problems with medical diagnoses of mental illness.” She alleged that Thieme and other unnamed deputies saw “an opportunity to violently ‘toy’ with a disabled person” when they were called to her mother's home last year.
Jafari's mother called the sheriff's department in April 2021 when Jafari began banging a door against a wall. Her mother feared for her daughter's well-being and hoped law enforcement would help, the lawsuit said.
Jafari was walking backwards, away from the deputies, with her hands empty and outstretched when Thieme allegedly suddenly punched her in the throat, knocking her to the ground, according to the lawsuit.
They shocked her with a stun gun, the lawsuit said, even though she was being passive and was not resisting. She cried out in pain and Thieme allegedly grabbed Jafari by the hair and "tossed her into the back of the patrol car like a rag doll," the lawsuit said. Jafari was taken to the hospital and then jailed.
The lawsuit alleged that the deputies then wrote a false report, claiming Jafari had resisted arrest. They later allegedly tried to get her mother to say Jafari had had a knife at the time, but she refused.
Jafari's lawsuit said the attack destabilized her mental health and left her with physical and emotional injuries. Miller, her attorney, said Jafari is seeking a jury trial but is open to mediation. The lawsuit also seeks unspecified financial damages.