Peel’s former rookie police officer sentenced to 18 months probation for shooting black Mississauga woman

A former rookie regional police officer from Peel was sentenced to 18 months probation after she pleaded guilty to careless use of a firearm in connection with the 2020 Mother’s Day shooting of a black Mississauga woman. .

A Brampton judge said the act “may negatively affect racialized communities,” although, the judge added, “there is no evidence,” the “incident was racially motivated.”

Valerie Briffa, 32, a now-retired Peel regional police officer who shot Chantelle Krupka, then 34, was conditionally shocked by Superior Court Judge Hugh Fraser, who said he believed Briffa mistakenly pulled his firearm, thinking it was his Taser and felt the punishment must be appropriate in the “extremely unusual and somewhat unique set of circumstances.”

Briffa stood in Brampton court to read an apology to Krupka, saying “Chantelle, please know that my actions were not racially motivated,” adding that “what happened was an accident. You didn’t deserve what you did. I pass you “.

“I am ashamed and angry at myself,” Briffa said. “After unloading what I think is my Taser, I remember looking into my eyes when you asked me why you shot me.”

The York University graduate of criminology, human rights and equity studies said that “she realized, to my horror, that I had my gun in my hand.

“I wish I would do more to keep things from escalating,” said Briffa, who has volunteered and worked with a number of community agencies, including Safe City Mississauga.

Reading from the agreed statement of fact, Provincial Prosecutor Ian Bulmer said that, on the night of May 10, 2020, Briffa, a probation officer, who was sworn in just three months earlier, and Const. Tyler Bell-Morena responded to a call, from Krupka’s ex-partner, about alleged harassment related to a custody issue. The officers went to Krupka’s residence to issue a warning about the text messages sent to her ex-partner.

Bulmer said that Krupka “argued and confronted Const. Briffa for teasing her on Mother’s Day. “

She refused to appear outside. Bell-Morena then pointed the headlights of her cruiser toward the house. Krupka called the police office to report that the officers were harassing her and requested a supervisor.

Krupka went to the front porch and yelled at the officers to stay away from her. After an argument broke out, Const Bell-Morena informed Krupka that she was in custody. Krupka’s partner, Michael Headley, tried to intervene and was subjected to Tasered.

Headley fell to the ground. Briffa, who also had her Taser removed, capped it again to help handcuff Headley, Bulmer said. Krupka was also subdued to Tasered, but got up.

“At that time Const. Briffa pulled out her pistol, mistakenly believing it to be her driven energy weapon (or Taser) aimed at Ms. Krupka and fired a round, hitting Ms. Krupka in the area of ​​her right hip, causing her to fall, ”it read. Bulmer of the agreed facts. .

Const. Bell Morena asked Briffa, “why did she do that and he got no response,” Bulmer said. Bell-Morena started first aid at Krupka. The bullet caused a ball socket fracture in Krupka’s right hip, as well as bleeding in the abdominal wall. The surgery removed most of the bullet fragments, but not all.

Krupka, who was present in the courtroom, shouted: “You are a liar. You shot me while I was on my back. “

Judge Hughes warned him to refrain from interrupting the proceedings.

“That’s why I hate you,” Krupka told Briffa.

“I was subjected to Tasered for no reason,” interjected Headley.

They were later removed from the courtroom.

The Ontario Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the province’s police watchdog, had charged Briffa with criminal negligence causing bodily harm, assault with a weapon and careless use of a firearm.

Bulmer said there was no reasonable prospect of conviction on the criminal negligence charge. Both that and the assault charge with a weapon were dropped.

After hearing from both attorneys, Judge Hughes said, “In nearly 30 years in court, I cannot recall a more serious display of remorse.

“That was a very powerful factor in arriving at this sentence.”

Hughes said that “mistakes involving the deployment of a weapon, rather than a taser, are rare, but they have happened,” adding that “in the dynamics of a volatile situation, a mistake was made.”

Hughes said he considered a variety of extenuating circumstances, including the early guilty plea, 82 letters that serve as character references, and Briffa’s important community service. Briffa also resigned from the police force seven weeks after the shooting.

“This is an individual, who appears to have spent much of his adult life preparing for a career in law enforcement,” Hughes, a black judge, said of a work history he called exemplary.

He also found Briffa’s public apology to be “extremely sincere and credible.”

Hughes said it did not lessen the “impact of the injuries and trauma that Ms. Krupka experienced,” and said her physical injuries were significant.

Briffa is ordered to keep the peace, behave well, and not communicate with Krupka or be within 150 meters of anywhere Krupka is known to live. You must also perform 150 hours of community service, appear before a probation officer, and are prohibited from possessing weapons.

Krupka refused to participate in sentencing and did not contribute a victim impact statement.

Jason Miller is a Toronto-based Star reporter covering crime and justice in the Peel region. Contact him by email: [email protected] or follow him on Twitter: @millermotionpic

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