Video Shows Cop Slamming Handcuffed Black Woman Into Ground Headfirst

Calgary police Const. Alex Dunn slammed Dalia Kafi into the ground while she was handcuffed, leaving a pool of blood on the ground.
Manisha Krishnan
Toronto, Canada
October 28, 2020, 10:00am
Calgary police Alex Dunn assault
A Calgary cop is on trial for assault for slamming a woman's head into the ground. Photo by Jeff McIntosh/the Canadian Press

A video from a Calgary police officer’s ongoing assault trial shows the cop slamming a handcuffed Black woman into the ground forcefully, causing blood to pool beneath her face. 

The video was released to CBC News during Const. Alex Dunn’s ongoing trial for assault causing bodily harm following his arrest of Dalia Kafi in December 2017. 

It shows Dunn approaching Kafi, who was 26 when the video was taken, and reaching for her headscarf while they are inside a police arrest processing facility. Kafi retreats from his grasp, at which point Dunn appears to yank the scarf off. Then he flips her over, slamming her head into the ground. 

Kafi lays on the ground, hardly moving, as Dunn grips her right wrist behind her back. After about 15 seconds, another officer approaches the pair and Dunn backs off. When Kafi shifts upright, a pool of blood becomes visible on the floor. 

Afterwards, she reportedly required stitches in her lip and surgery for a broken nose. 

In a statement provided to VICE News, Calgary police said concerns about Dunn’s behaviour were initially raised by a supervisor and that Dunn was charged following an internal investigation.

The statement said Dunn was initially suspended with pay while awaiting trial, but that, due to court delays and COVID-19, he’s been allowed to resume working in “non-operational functions.” 

“To ensure the court process is not unfairly influenced, we are limited in regard to completing our internal disciplinary process until the court process is finished,” the statement said. 

Calgary police Staff. Sgt. Gordon Macdonald testified in court that Dunn’s conduct was “the worst use of force that I had seen,” according to CBC. 

He described the slamming as a “judo-style throw. Afterwards, he said he called paramedics and told Dunn to back off. He said Kafi’s behaviour did not justify Dunn’s reaction. 

Kafi had been arrested after being pulled over in a car while breaking a court-ordered 10 p.m. curfew. 

According to CBC, she testified that she’d been with a friend who offered to drive her home, but Dunn pulled them over for turning on a yellow light. 

Kafi initially tried to lie about her identity, but eventually came clean and was arrested for breaching the court order. Dunn then took her to the arrest processing facility. 

The alleged assault occurred when Kafi was having her picture taken. 

The news comes at a time of heightened scrutiny on police violence. 

In a recent decision, an Alberta judge said several Calgary police officers violated a suspect’s Charter rights when they laughed and mocked him over his injuries from a police dog bite. 

Calgary police’s statement said its internal investigation into Dunn will determine “whether the force was reasonable” and if he will face any disciplinary consequences, including dismissal. 

“In general terms, police officers are trained to deescalate conflict and to use the least amount of force necessary to safely resolve a situation. We expect them to follow the law, our policies and our training,” the statement said 

Follow Manisha Krishnan on Twitter.