A former officer with Peel Regional Police has been conditionally discharged and sentenced to 18 months probation for her involvement in a Mother's Day shooting last year.
Valerie Briffa entered a guilty plea to one count of careless use of a firearm, for which she received a conditional discharge on Friday.
Justice Hugh Fraser said he was struck by Briffa's "earnest display of remorse," as well as her "extensive" community work prior to becoming a police officer.
According to Fraser, more than 80 character references were submitted to the court on Briffa's behalf. "I believe you have much to contribute to your community," he told her.
Briffa was charged with criminal negligence causing bodily harm, assault with a weapon, and careless use of a firearm back in July 2020. Ontario's police watchdog, the Special Investigations Unit, laid the charges following an investigation.
At that point, Briffa — still in her probationary period — resigned her role.
During the May 10, 2020 shooting, Briffa injured 34-year-old Chantelle Krupka. Krupka, who is Black, said police used excessive force against her when one officer Tasered her in the back and the second — Briffa — shot her in the abdomen.
According to Krupka, police were called to her Mississauga home by her ex-partner, with whom she shares custody of their 10-year-old son, after she texted him to ask to talk to her boy on Mother's Day.
She said there wasn't anything threatening in the text messages, but that she felt afraid when police arrived. She went outside with her partner Michael Headley, as officers told her to, but she said that's when she was accused of making a fist. Then, Krupka said, Headley was Tasered.
She tried to run, she said, but was tasered and later shot. Krupka needed surgery after a single bullet fractured her right hip.
"I asked the officer who shot me why she shot me. It actually in a way calmed me down because the Tasing hurt much more. The shock from the shot really kind of pushed me back and calmed me. It took a minute to register what had happened," an emotional Krupka said at a news conference more than a month after the shooting.
"And I looked her in the eye and I maintained contact. And I asked her repeatedly why she shot me. I said, 'I just wanted to see my son. I didn't deserve this. Why did you do this to me?' She didn't answer."
Peel police initially charged Headley with obstructing a peace officer and assaulting a peace officer, but both those charges were dropped earlier this year.
In court on Friday, a Crown lawyer said it wouldn't be in the public interest to try Briffa for criminal negligence causing bodily harm and assault with a weapon. As a result of her guilty plea to careless use of a firearm, Briffa will be on probation for 18 months.
"I'm angry and frustrated and even a little shocked," Krupka told CBC News after the hearing. Krupka felt Briffa's reactions during the hearing were "performative" and she said she intends to keep pushing for systemic change.
"Defund police forces and put funding into our communities to prevent crime instead of reacting to them with violence," she said.
For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.