A Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy was charged Wednesday with assaulting a woman during a trouble call a year ago and then lying about it in a report, prosecutors said.
Konrad Thieme, 37, was charged with two counts of assault under the guise of authority and one count of making false statements in a report, the district attorney’s office said.
It is not known whether Thieme has retained the services of an attorney.
The incident happened in April 2021, when Thieme and two other MPs responded to a disturbance call in Chatsworth. Prosecutors allege Thieme twice assaulted the 32-year-old during an encounter that was partially captured by his body camera.
Sheriff’s investigators presented the case to prosecutors three months later, in July 2021. It’s unclear why it took prosecutors so long to press charges.
Just last week a Times reporter inquired about the status of the case and was told it was being investigated.
Lt. Jim Braden, who oversaw Thieme at the Lost Hills sheriff’s station, said the deputy was relieved of his duties on the day of the incident.
“Police accountability is an essential part of a fair and just criminal justice system,” Dist. Atti. George Gascón said in a statement on Wednesday. “Our office will not tolerate abuses of power that result in criminal acts by law enforcement officers who are sworn to protect our community.”
The woman, Sarah Jafari, is suing the county over this incident. The lawsuit, filed in December, said Jafari had a mental disability and his mother called the sheriff’s department because she knocked on a door against a wall.
Jafari’s civil lawsuit said body camera video shows Thieme approaching Jafari as she slowly backs away with outstretched hands. He said Thieme then punched Jafari in the throat, unprovoked, knocking her backwards on her head. The lawsuit said the deputies then shocked Jafari with a Taser.
Thieme grabbed Jafari by the hair and threw her into the back of a patrol car “like a rag doll”, according to her costume. She was taken to hospital to treat her injuries.
The lawsuit said Thieme falsely wrote in his report that Jafari was resisting arrest. He said the deputies returned to her house to try to persuade Jafari’s mother to lie and say that Jafari had a knife in his clothes before the attack. The mother refused, according to the lawsuit.
Thieme wrote in his report that he heard screams when he arrived home. He wrote that he asked the woman if she had a knife and she said no. But he said he couldn’t determine if that was true because of the dim lighting and his bulky clothes.
He said she was not complying with orders and he feared she was slow to retrieve a weapon. He said he then tried to punch her in the chest but inadvertently punched her in the neck. When he tried to secure his hands, he wrote, she turned and reached for his belt. He wrote that she was kicking deputies, so he shocked her with a Taser.
A supervisor who reviewed Thieme’s report of the incident pointed to inconsistencies between what he wrote and what body camera footage showed, according to an internal document reviewed by The Times.
For example, the document states that Jafari does not kick MPs, as alleged by Thieme. He said it appeared Thieme intentionally grabbed the woman by the throat and pushed her into a plant, and her left hand was not near her waistband before she was shocked with a Taser.
Los Angeles Times