In a significant development last Thursday, the Calgary Police Service took the decisive step to dismiss 14-year veteran police officer Alex Dunn. Dunn, whose career was marred by a previous conviction for causing bodily harm, was found guilty of throwing handcuffed Dahlia Kafi, a black woman, to the ground during an incident that shocked the community.
The incident in question unfolded in December 2017 when 26-year-old Kafi was brought to the police station after being arrested for breaching a court-imposed curfew. What followed was a troubling episode as Constable Dunn attempted to remove a scarf from Kafi’s head to take a photograph. With her hands bound in handcuffs, Kafi instinctively moved away from the officer, prompting Dunn to forcefully throw her to the ground.
The consequences of this violent takedown were severe. Kafi, following the impact with the ground, appeared to lose consciousness momentarily. She endured a broken nose that necessitated surgery, as well as stitches for a split lip.
Dunn’s actions led to his conviction in 2020, and he was subsequently sentenced to 30 days, with the first half served under house arrest and the second half under a curfew in 2021. However, Court of King’s Bench Justice Nancy Dilts expressed dissatisfaction with the leniency of the sentence, remarking, “The trial judge imposed a 30-day conditional sentence with minimal conditions and palpable lenience.” Dilts argued that Dunn should have been incarcerated, stating, “Constable Dunn’s conviction was left without meaningful consequence, and, as a result, achieved neither denunciation nor deterrence.”
Justice Dilts subsequently ruled that a more fitting sentence for Constable Alex Dunn’s conviction for assault causing bodily harm was 30 days in jail, followed by six months of probation. Unfortunately, due to Dunn’s prolonged legal proceedings, he may not serve this newly mandated sentence.
Following a disciplinary hearing, Dunn was found guilty on two counts of discreditable conduct under Alberta’s Police Act. His dismissal from the police force, as confirmed by the Calgary Police Service (CPS), will take effect once the appeal period has elapsed or an appeal has concluded, leaving Dunn suspended without pay during this interim period.
It’s worth noting that Alex Dunn’s disciplinary record had previously come under scrutiny. In 2016, he pleaded guilty to two charges of insubordination, related to breaching Calgary Police Service policies concerning accessing civilian information for personal reasons and improper home storage of his service firearm, resulting in a four-day pay deduction. Furthermore, Dunn had faced an internal police investigation in connection with a photograph from a 2012 Halloween party that depicted him in blackface, raising questions about his conduct and judgment.
The dismissal of Constable Alex Dunn reflects a crucial step in holding law enforcement officers accountable for their actions and maintaining the public’s trust in the justice system.