Calgary Herald

Sadness, anger over officer's sentence

- ALANNA SMITH Twitter: @alanna_smithh

The Calgary Police Service must deliver justice to the family of Dalia Kafi after the courts failed to do so, says an anti-racism leader in the city.

On Tuesday, a judge spared officer Alex Dunn from jail time and instead handed him a 30-day conditiona­l sentence for violently assaulting Kafi in 2017. He slammed her into a concrete floor, breaking her nose and cutting her lip, while she was handcuffed.

Tragically, Kafi died from a suspected drug overdose on Monday. Dunn is currently suspended with pay.

Adam Massiah, a member of the Calgary police anti-racism committee, is calling on the local force to strip Dunn of his badge.

“The (police) are not the ones that handed down the sentence. It was the provincial judge, but I think it's up to the CPS at this point to do the right thing moving forward when it comes to Alex Dunn and his employment with the Calgary police force,” said Massiah.

“This is another case of unwarrante­d violence by the police going unchecked against a Black individual. I can tell you personally I had the same feeling of disbelief and despair when I heard about the sentencing and her passing that I had when I saw the video of George Floyd — just that sinking feeling in your stomach. It reaffirms to a lot of people that it seems like they don't care about Black lives.”

Provincial court Judge Michelle Christophe­r said race was not a factor in the assault, however members of the Black community say a white officer brutalizin­g a Black woman speaks to continued police brutality toward racialized people.

Defence lawyer Cory Wilson told media that people should heed the judge's words.

“This wasn't racially motivated. This was nothing more than an officer and a civilian. Race did not play into this,” Wilson said following the decision.

An internal investigat­ion by the service, which will take into account the court ruling, is underway.

Calgary police did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

“The police are supposed to be someone that people trust,” said Massiah. “But time and time again we see they are the ones that deliver the pain, despair, uncertaint­y and fear to members of the Black community.”

Sharon Kambale, who was friends with Kafi and founded the Afro-mentorship Initiative, said Kafi was the loving mother of a young boy, a devoted friend and a hard worker.

“We find ourselves beginning to carry the weight of this world on our own shoulders, recognizin­g that the police are not here to protect us. They claim Canada to be a land of the free, yet we're bound by the chains of systemic racism,” Kambale said in a statement.

“My heart goes out to her son ... He carries the weight of this world on his shoulders before he begins to read because of the injustice of a society that has been built against us.”

Dunn will serve half of his month-long sentence under house arrest and the other half under curfew.

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