Judge says policeman should have been jailed for assaulting Black woman

Dalia Kafi

The Calgary police officer who slammed a handcuffed Black woman head first on the ground should have gone to jail, a judge has ruled in overturning the constable’s 30-day sentence that he served at home.

“The trial judge imposed a 30-day conditional sentence with minimal conditions and palpable lenience,” wrote Court of King’s Bench Justice Nancy Dilts in her 10-page decision.

“Constable Dunn’s conviction was left without meaningful consequence, and, as a result, achieved neither denunciation nor deterrence.”

Dilts ruled a fit sentence for Const. Alex Dunn’s assault causing bodily harm conviction is 30 days in jail followed by six months probation.

But because Dunn has been before the courts for more than three years, he may not serve that new sentence.

Const. Alex Dunn

Dilts has invited prosecutor Michael Dunn — who is not related to the offender — and defence lawyer Alain Hepner to make submissions on whether the constable qualifies for a stay of execution of his new sentence.

Dunn was found guilty for the violent takedown of Dalia Kafi in 2020.

In 2021, he was handed a 30-day sentence: the first half under house arrest, the second half on a curfew.

At trial and in appeal arguments, the Crown asked for a nine-month jail term.

The prosecutor argued that while he was not suggesting the assault was racially motivated, the courts should consider Kafi’s minority status “to properly weigh the gravity of the offence.”

“Constable Dunn held a position of trust over a vulnerable person not only who was much smaller than he but who was a Black woman in handcuffs, resisting physical contact by a man,” wrote Dilts in her decision.

“She was under his control and subject to his authority. While an isolated incident, Constable Dunn’s conduct is serious enough to attract a penalty of incarceration.”

In this court evidence from Dec.13, 2017, Dalia Kafi was arrested by Const. Dunn for breaching her curfew. At the arrest processing unit, Kafi says she backed away from Dunn when he attempted to remove her headscarf. Dunn can then be seen throwing the handcuffed woman to the ground face first.

In December 2017, Kafi, who was 26 years old at the time, was brought to the Arrest Processing Unit (APU) after she was arrested for breaching a court-imposed curfew.

There, Dunn tried to remove a scarf from her head to take a photo. Kafi, who was handcuffed, ducked away from him. The constable threw her to the ground.

The victim appeared to be briefly unconscious after her head bounced off the ground. She suffered a broken nose, which required surgery, and needed stitches for a split lip.

The Calgary Police Service (CPS) confirms Dunn is also the subject of disciplinary proceedings after he was charged internally with one count of unlawful or unnecessary exercise of authority and two counts of discreditable conduct.

The charges will proceed to a disciplinary hearing beginning on June 19.