In the three years after she was tackled by a Miami-Dade police officer and wrongfully arrested, Dyma Loving says the presence of anyone with a badge has left her shaken.
Being around relatives who are cops is awkward, Loving told a judge this week. Her kids have freaked out when they see a patrol car. When police officers walked into her job at Panera Bread for lunch, she believed they were there to try and intimidate her.
“I just don’t trust police officers at all,” Loving said. “None of them.”
For roughing up Loving and lying on a police arrest report, ex-officer Alejandro Giraldo was sentenced to 364 days in jail, to be followed by 18 months of probation. “You tarnished your reputation and all of the reputations of the men and women in blue,” Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Ellen Sue Venzer told him.
He’ll surrender on July 11 to begin serving his sentence.
The sentence was significantly higher than expected. Giraldo’s defense lawyer asked for no jail time and probation. Prosecutor Tim VanderGiesen — while acknowledging that Giraldo was unlikely to commit crimes in the future — recommended a sentence between a week or two and 60 days in jail.
“I believe the defendant does need to do some jail time,” VanderGiesen said. “We don’t need to throw the book at him.”
The sentence was also in stark contrast to another recent sentence of an ex-Miami-Dade cop.
Earlier this month, Circuit Judge Marissa Tinkler Mendez spared former detective Armando Socarras jail time for ripping off what he believed was a drug dealer of $1,300 cash, instead giving him probation, community service and allowing him to have no conviction on his record.
Giraldo’s sentencing happened two months after a jury quickly convicted Giraldo of battery and official misconduct for writing a police report riddled with lies.
Prosecutors had charged Giraldo after body-camera footage emerged showing him tackling a woman named Dyma Loving, who had called police in March 2019 to report that a neighbor in South Miami-Dade had pointed a shotgun at her. Instead, Loving wound up in handcuffs and jailed after she and Giraldo traded heated words.
The footage of a Black woman and crime victim roughed up by a Hispanic police officer sparked outrage among community groups, while Giraldo’s defense attorney insisted he acted lawfully only to subdue an unruly woman interfering with an investigation.
His defense lawyer, Andre Rouviere, argued at trial that he didn’t commit a crime and he had no choice but to arrest a disruptive woman.
But on Friday, Giraldo and his lawyer struck a softer tone. “What we saw in that video is not Alejandro Giraldo,” said Rouviere. “It’s someone who had a bad six minutes, to be very frank with you.”
Giraldo, a pastor and father of two, apologized for traumatizing Loving.
“I failed to show the patience and concern that I preach,” Giraldo said. ”I have already received punishment for my actions. I lost a 14-year career. I have lost the respect of many of my peers and now I have a criminal record.”
After he spoke, Loving said his apology helped.
“I forgive you because we have to heal,” she told the judge. “Those words — they helped. I’m not going to lie. They helped.”
Still, Judge Venzer did not go easy on the ex-cop.
“You lied on an arrest affidavit. It wasn’t like you gained anything from it,” Venzer said. “Ms. Loving, she paid for your lies. She spent days in jail waiting for her family to come bail her out.”