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Closing arguments heard in trial for Calgary police officer accused of assault causing bodily harm

WATCH: The defence and the Crown have now presented closing arguments in the case of Const. Alex Dunn. A disturbing video, which was presented as evidence in court, shows the Calgary police officer forcing a woman to the ground in a takedown. Jenna Freeman reports. WARNING: Video contains footage that may disturb some viewers – Oct 28, 2020

The trial for Calgary police Const. Alex Dunn, who is accused of assault causing bodily harm after arresting a woman in 2017, was back in court Wednesday. 

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Video of the arrest from Dec. 13, 2017, which was presented as evidence in court, showed Dunn throwing Dalia Kafi to the ground face first. 

Read more: Disturbing video shows Calgary officer throw handcuffed woman to ground face first

Kafi was being escorted into the arrest processing unit to have her picture taken. 

Defence lawyer Cory Wilson presented closing arguments Wednesday morning to the judge. 

Const. Alex Dunn enters the Calgary Courts Centre on Oct. 28, 2020. Global News

Wilson said that Dunn was justified in his use of a “dynamic takedown” because he feared that Kafi had managed to slip off her handcuffs and was possibly able to use them as a weapon. 

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Wilson pointed to the fact that Dunn was mistaken; the video showed the handcuff had slipped up to Kafi’s wrist, but because she was able to reach and grab his wrist, Dunn believed she no longer was in handcuffs. 

Read more: Calgary officers believe changes to Police Act are needed

He argued that Dunn acted on an unfortunate mistake, and at that “split second of time, he did not think he had another viable option other than a dynamic takedown.”

Wilson also questioned the credibility of Kafi when she testified earlier in the week. He said she repeatedly refused to answer his questions and her testimony contradicted that of Dunn and Staff Sgt. Gordon Macdonald, who testified earlier in the week. 

He said Kafi was hollering racist insults at Dunn and had been resistive and assaultive.

Read more: Calgary police provide update on anti-racism, use of force work

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Wilson admitted that the video results in a visceral reaction but “as clear as it is, [it] doesn’t tell a whole story — it never does.”

He said that the video does not show Kafi had reached up and grabbed his wrist, which is why Dunn believed she was no longer in handcuffs. 

He also submitted that the charge become common assault, not assault causing bodily harm, because there was no medical evidence to suggest there was bodily harm.

Read more: Police misconduct ‘exists here in Calgary’: Officer wants her harassment lawsuit to bring change

Crown prosecutor Ryan Pollard submitted closing arguments Wednesday afternoon. 

Pollard said there was no way Kafi could have physically put her hand on Dunn’s wrist and that it “made no sense.”

Pollard argued that “there’s no contortion or movement that is apparent on the video that would even begin to allow that possibility.”

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He said Dunn had admitted that he had searched Kafi prior to this incident, and if he had truly believed he was in danger, he would not have proceeded. 

Read more: Calgary police chief addresses video of police kneeling on woman during arrest

Pollard said that Dunn “threw” Kafi to the ground and there was no evidence that proved a dynamic takedown was necessary.

He pointed to a lack of evidence in the video that Kafi could have possibly had a hand on Dunn’s wrist.

What really doesn’t make sense is that he says she reached out with her handcuffed hand to his hand, which was on her shoulder… She could not have done that,” he said.

Read more: Calgary rally demands changes to internal investigations of police officers, ASIRT

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Judge Michelle Christopher reserved her decision on the matter. 

Dunn was suspended with pay when he was charged in 2019. He has since started working with the Calgary Police Service again in an administrative role.

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