Victim of assault by Calgary police officer dies before constable sentenced

Click to play video: 'Calgary police officer given 1-month sentence for assault on woman'
Calgary police officer given 1-month sentence for assault on woman
The Calgary police officer who assaulted a woman while on duty has been given a one-month conditional sentence. Global’s Jackie Wilson has the details. WARNING: The video may be disturbing to viewers – Jun 30, 2021

Dalia Kafi, the woman who was assaulted by an on-duty Calgary police officer in 2017, died of a drug overdose on Sunday, a friend told Global News on Tuesday.

“She was a hard worker. She was really driven. She was vibrant and loving. She was a person that really lit up a room,” said friend Sharon Kambale, adding that Kafi was a single mom to a young boy.

Disturbing video shows Const. Alex Dunn throwing a handcuffed Kafi face-first onto the ground during her arrest for breaking a curfew on Dec. 13, 2017.

Blood pooled where her face hit the floor.

Click to play video: 'Raw video shows altercation between Calgary officer and woman under arrest'
Raw video shows altercation between Calgary officer and woman under arrest

Dunn was charged with one count of assault causing bodily harm in May 2019.

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He was found guilty in December 2020.

On Tuesday, Dunn was handed a one-month sentence. That means he will serve no time in jail but rather a combination of 24-hour house arrest followed by house arrest with a curfew.

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“I have faith he will make a difference and turn things around. This has been very hard for Mr. Dunn,” Judge Michelle Christopher said Tuesday.

“You need to put this behind you. I don’t think you’re a bad person… A bad thing happened.”

Kafi was Black, but Christopher said Tuesday: “There is no evidence that race is a factor in the actual assault.”

“This was an egregious mistake. The accused has otherwise been a law-abiding contributing member of society whose actions, while hurtful, were not premeditated. He acted out of frustration and he overreacted.”

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Defence lawyer Cory Wilson agreed, saying race was not a factor in the case.

“I think it’s just important to make sure that people see it, and especially in such a time where race is such an issue, it’s so front and centre, that it’s so important to really heed the judge’s words that this wasn’t about race,” he said Tuesday.

“This wasn’t racially motivated. This was nothing more than an officer and a civilian. Race did not play into this, though it looks like that on TV.”

Kambale disagreed, saying she believes race did play a role in the case. If you’re a visible minority, everything has a racial component and power divide, she explained.

“You’re talking about a Caucasian police officer and a Black woman, right? So ultimately, you’re already dealing with race as well as when you take into consideration Dalia’s words. She’s fearful of police, somebody who she thought was there to protect her,” she said.

“Why was he aggressive then becomes the question. He was fearful, he states. There was no evidence in the video that she was being aggressive towards him. So ultimately, he already had stereotype or he had a preconceived notion of who Dalia is.”

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Dalia Kafi is shown outside of the Calgary Courts Centre on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Bill Graveland

In February, Kambale’s remarks were echoed in Kafi’s victim impact statement, saying that she still suffered effects from the incident.

“I find it hard to trust people after the assault, especially the police,” Kafi wrote.

“I still can’t understand how this could possibly happen at a police station from someone I thought was there to protect me.”

Click to play video: 'Calgary police officer guilty of assault'
Calgary police officer guilty of assault

Dunn is currently on leave from the Calgary Police Service without pay.

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Global News reached out to CPS to find out the status of Dunn’s employment but it has not responded.

– With files from The Canadian Press

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