Calgary

'None of this happened': Prosecutor rejects Calgary officer's version of events, urges conviction

The testimony of a Calgary police officer on trial for assault "does not reconcile with reality," argued a prosecutor in asking the judge to convict Const. Alex Dunn in connection with a violent arrest that left a 26-year-old woman injured.

WARNING: This story contains disturbing video

Const. Alex Dunn is on trial for assault causing bodily harm, accused of using excessive force on a handcuffed arrestee he threw to the ground, face-first. (Colin Hall/CBC)

The testimony of a Calgary police officer on trial for assault "does not reconcile with reality," argued a prosecutor in asking the judge to convict Const. Alex Dunn in connection with a violent arrest that left a 26-year-old woman injured.

Dunn is facing a charge of assault causing bodily harm after the December 2017 arrest of Dalia Kafi ended with him throwing her face-first, while handcuffed, on the cement floor. The incident can be seen in a video exhibit played in court and released to the media.

Defence lawyer Cory Wilson and prosecutor Ryan Pollard made closing arguments before provincial court Judge Michelle Christopher on Wednesday.

A key piece of evidence is a video, showing Kafi being thrown onto the floor.

Kafi's head can be seen bouncing off the concrete floor and, according to Pollard, she needed surgery for a broken nose and stitches in her lip. 

Calgary police officer on trial for assaulting handcuffed woman he threw to the ground

Calgary

28 days agoVideo
1:03
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. 1:03

The Crown called the video the "most compelling piece of evidence," but Wilson cautioned the judge against considering it frame-by-frame because "life is not experienced in slow motion or freeze frame."

Lawyers on each side vehemently disagree with what happened on Dec. 13, 2017.

In the early morning hours, Kafi was arrested by Dunn for breaching a court-ordered curfew. She was brought to the arrest processing unit, where the officer had her stand against a wall to have her photo taken.

Dunn tried to remove a hair scarf for the photo but Kafi ducked away. It happened again before Dunn placed his hand on her shoulder, again trying to get the scarf off his arrestee's head.

Dunn testified that while handcuffed behind her back — with one cuff on her wrist and the other sliding up near her elbow — Kafi was able to reach up and grab the officer's hand, which was on her shoulder. 

Wilson says his client feared for his safety and needed to do a "dynamic takedown."

Dunn testified he didn't mean to throw her on the ground face-first.

Const. Alex Dunn is on trial for assault causing bodily harm stemming from an arrest in 2017 where Dalia Kafi was thrown to the ground, face-first, while handcuffed. (Court Exhibit )

But Pollard argued that Dunn's account of what happened "defies physics, it defies anatomy, it does not reconcile with reality."

"There is no contortion or movement that would even begin to allow for that possibility," said Pollard. "None of this happened, it couldn't have happened."

Pollard also reminded the judge that one witness, a senior officer with 30 years policing experience, said he saw no reason for Dunn's "judo-style throw."

Wilson said Kafi "is simply not to be believed" and "Const. Dunn's evidence must be believed."

He pointed out inconsistencies in her testimony and evidence that was contradicted by other witnesses. For example, Kafi said she was mumbling to herself while another witness testified she was being loud and belligerent.

A date for Christopher to issue her decision will be set next month. 

Dunn is currently working for the Calgary Police Service in an administrative role. 

About the Author

Meghan Grant

CBC Calgary reporter

Meghan Grant is the courts and crime reporter for CBC Calgary.

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