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Sheriff’s deputy charged in violent attack on woman in Chatsworth

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A Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy was charged with assaulting a woman during a disturbance call a year ago and then lying about it in a report.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
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A Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy was charged Wednesday with assaulting a woman during a disturbance 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 color of authority and one count of making false statements in a report, the district attorney’s office said.

It’s unclear whether Thieme has retained an attorney.

The incident occurred in April 2021, when Thieme and two other deputies responded to a disturbance call in Chatsworth. Prosecutors allege Thieme twice assaulted the 32-year-old woman in an encounter that was partially captured on his body camera.

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Sheriff’s investigators presented the case to prosecutors three months later, in July 2021. It’s unclear why it took so long for prosecutors to file charges.

Just last week, a Times reporter had inquired about the status of the case and was told it was under review.

Lt. Jim Braden, who supervised Thieme at the Lost Hills sheriff’s station, said the deputy was relieved of duty the day of the incident.

“Police accountability is an essential component of a fair and just criminal legal system,” Dist. Atty. George Gascón said in a statement 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 the incident. The lawsuit, filed in December, said Jafari suffers with a mental disability, and her mother called the Sheriff’s Department because she was banging a door against a wall.

Jafari’s civil lawsuit said body camera video shows Thieme approach Jafari as she walked backward slowly with her hands out. It said Thieme then punched Jafari’s throat, unprovoked, causing her to fall backward on her head. The lawsuit said the deputies then shocked Jafari with a Taser.

Thieme grabbed Jafari by her hair and tossed her in the back of a patrol car “like a rag doll,” her suit alleged. She was taken to a hospital for treatment of her injuries.

The lawsuit said Thieme falsely wrote in his report that Jafari was resisting arrest. It said deputies returned to her home to try to persuade Jafari’s mother to lie and say Jafari had a knife in her clothes prior to the attack. The mother refused, according to the lawsuit.

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Thieme wrote in his report that he heard screaming when he arrived at the home. He wrote that he asked the woman if she had a knife and she said no. But he said he couldn’t determine whether that was true because of the dark lighting and her bulky clothes.

He said she was not complying with commands and he feared she was stalling to retrieve a weapon. He said he then tried to strike her torso but inadvertently hit her neck. When he tried to secure her hands, he wrote, she rolled over and reached toward her waistband. He wrote she was kicking her legs at deputies, so he shocked her with a Taser.

A supervisor who reviewed Thieme’s report on the incident pointed out inconsistencies between what he wrote and what the body camera footage showed, according to an internal document reviewed by The Times.

For example, the document said Jafari was not kicking deputies, as Thieme alleged. It said it appeared Thieme intentionally grabbed the woman by the throat and pushed her into a plant, and that her left hand was not near her waistband before she was shocked with a Taser.

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