IIO Lets off RCMP Officer who Shot 24-Year-Old Five Times

The Independent Investigations Office (IIO), the agency that investigates cases of police harm to civilians in British Columbia has decided not to recommend charges against an RCMP officer who shot a 24-year-old in Port Hardy on Vancouver Island on July 8, 2015. The IIO suggested that the man made threatening comments to people and carried a small knife. There is no explanation for the total of five shots fired into the youth by the officer. The killer cop did not provide a statement to the IIO.


Killer Cop Brian Taylor Gives Questionable Testimony at Inquest into Michael MacIsaac Shooting

Killer cop Brian Taylor provided two days of questionable, even outright unbelievable, testimony during the coroner’s inquest into his 2013 killing of 47-year-old Michael MacIsaac. As witnesses and 911 call evidence contradicted much of his depiction of events, Constable Taylor turned to the bogus and obnoxious “excited delirium” excuse to blame the victim. Notably the inquest testimony was the first time he raised this baseless suggestion, a last refuge of killer cops.

 

Contradicted Testimony

Taylor claims he feared for his life when seeing MacIsaac, yet he was safely inside his police vehicle and decided to exit only after seeing the man he was supposedly threatened by near him. Taylor claimed in his testimony that he heard MacIsaac say “Come on, come on,” and claims that he issued the police challenge, “Police. Don’t move,” to MacIsaac and remembers hearing it.

Taykor testified at length:

“Somebody said ‘Drop it, get down on the ground.’ I thought that if I have to take a shot, don’t miss. There are a lot of people around. Then he moved off the curb. I fired the first round. I didn’t hear the gun go off. I felt it . . . . I didn’t know if I had hit him, because there was no effect. And he continued to move and I fired a second round and I know that one struck him.” (quoted in Gallant 2017a)

 

Roy Wellington, the MacIsaac family’s lawyer, used cross-examination to note that most of Constable Taylor’s claims about what was said are not captured on a 911 call made by Ron Nino the witness who stopped the arriving Taylor and told him MacIsaac was in the area. On that call a voice is heard telling Nino “get back, get back” (Gallant 2017a). Only seconds later shots are fired. No one is heard at any point either issuing commands to MacIsaac or saying “Come on, come on.” Nino said that Taylor fired almost immediately. The MacIsaac family had that call analyzed by a forensic scientist to see if there were cuts or absences. That report concluded that “there are no definite signs of alterations or breaks found on this recording” (quoted in Gallant 2017b).

Queried Wellington: “I’m having a hard time understanding how we can hear someone further away from Mr. Nino, but we don’t actually hear you issuing any commands at all” (quoted in Gallant 2017a).

Wellington continued: ““Regardless of who shouted commands, there wasn’t much of an opportunity for Mr. MacIsaac to respond. Would you agree with that?” (quoted in Gallant 2017a).

Constable Taylor offered the rather desperate response that perhaps the cell phone malfunctioned. This despite the forensic tests. Taylor’s lawyer, Bill MacKenzie tried to suggest that 911 called Nino back and thus interfered with the call, which, frankly, makes no sense.

Questions are also being asked why Taylor shot MacIsaac twice and how he could not see if the first shot hit the man, since he was naked and there were no clothes to obscure a bullet strike and wound. Incredibly, Taylor believed the victim was “still a threat” even after he saw black-red blood streaming out of the stricken man’s abdomen. Two other officers took time to handcuff the dying man rather than giving him any medical attention.

 

Constable Taylor Proposes Phoney “Excited Delirium”

Taylor, desperately and pathetically, tried to introduce the phony notion of “excited delirium” to describe MacIsaac and justify the killing. Excited delirium is a bogus claim produced by police and police associations after the fact when they kill someone. Incredibly Taylor suggested this was his first thought when hearing over police that the person he was seeking might be suffering mental health issues. The family suggests that MacIsaac was in crisis as a result of an epileptic seizure but did not have mental health issues.

Anita Szigeti, a lawyer for the Empowerment Council, an advocacy group for people with lived experiences of mental health and addiction issues noted that organizations including the World Health Organization and American Medical Association do not recognize it as an actual condition (Gallant 2017b). Szigeti rightly pointed out that the only ones who maintain that it is a condition are the “maker of Tasers” and law enforcement members (Gallant 2017b). We might add pro-police criminologists or copagandists.

Szigeti posed this to Constable Taylor. In her words: “But, do you know ‘excited delirium’ is extremely controversial, over whether it’s even a condition at all?” (quoted in Gallant 2017b). Taylor answered simply, “Yes.”

Szigeti said that she was puzzled because Taylor promoted the notion of excited delirium at the inquest but the term does not appear anywhere in his notes on the shooting. Neither does it appear in his interviews with the Special Investigations Unit or the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (Gallant 2017b).

This led Szigeti to conclude: “I’m going to suggest to you that you never thought about ‘excited delirium’ at all until long after the events when you shot Mr. MacIsaac” (quoted in Gallant 2017b). This at base the nature of this phony claim. It is an after the fact justification for killer cops desperate for an answer when all reasonable explanations are absent.

 

Conclusion

Joanne MacIsaac, Michael MacIsaac’s sister, is also asking if the SIU bothered to listen to the Nino 911 call in its investigation into the killing which resulted in a decision not to bring criminal charges against Constable Taylor.

Taylor ended his testimony, on its second day, with the admission, in response to a question from a juror: “With hindsight being 20/20, yes, there probably could have been a better way to resolve it” (quoted in Gallant 2017b).

 

Further Reading

Gallant, Jacques. 2017a. “Durham Cop Who Shot and Killed Michael MacIsaac, Testifies at Inquest into MacIsaac’s Death.” Toronto Star. July 20. https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2017/07/20/durham-cop-who-shot-and-killed-michael-macisaac-testifies-at-inquest-into-macisaacs-death.html

 

Gallant, Jacques. 2017b. “At Inquest into Death of Michael MacIsaac, Cop Concedes there was a Better Way to Resolve Issue.” The Toronto Star. July 21. https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2017/07/21/at-inquest-into-death-of-michael-macisaac-cop-concedes-there-was-a-better-way-to-resolve-incident.html


Video Raises Questions About In-Custody Death of Dale Culvner in Prince George

The man who died while in custody of Prince George RCMP has been identified publicly as Dale Culvner, a 35-year-old father of three. Several RCMP officers took part in Culver’s arrest allegedly following a call about someone looking at vehicles. Culvner was pepper prayed and newly released video shows that four officers pinned him to the ground afterwards.

It has not been independently confirmed that Culvner, or anyone else was “casing vehicles.” Yet on this basis he was killed by police. A terrible price to pay for simply being suspected of possibly looking at cars.

Seeing the video, Alicia Wisla, Culver’s partner and mother of their five-month-old child, insists the officers involved must be charged.

The available video footage can be viewed here:  http://globalnews.ca/news/3616428/girlfriend-of-prince-george-man-who-died-in-police-custody-wants-justice/?utm_source=980CKNW&utm_medium=Facebook


Victim of Thunder Bay Police Identified as Marlon “Roland” Jerry McKay, 50-Year-Old Indigenous Man

The Thunder Bay police have garnered much notoriety recently over concerns of widespread racism on the force against Indigenous people in the area. Now the 50-year-old man who died in his cell while in custody of Thunder Bay police has been identified as Marlon “Roland” Jerry McKay. He died on July 19, 2017, after being arrested and detained for as yet unstated reasons. The victim’s family has confirmed that McKay, of the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation 600 kilometers north of Thunder Bay, was in the city for medical reasons. Paramedics supposedly cleared him on health grounds before he was taken by police. The family has apparently been told by the coroner that McKay did not die of a heart attack. The Special Investigations Unit is examining the case.


First Day of Testimony for Killer Cop Brian Taylor in Shooting of Michael MacIsaac

Constable Brian Taylor (46), the Durham police officer who shot and killed Michael MacIsaac took the stand July 20, 2017 for his first day of testimony at the coroner’s inquest into the killing. Taylor shot and killed MacIsaac, who was clearly in distress, on December 2, 2013 in Ajax, Ontario. The officer’s testimony raised many serious questions about his actions and aspects of his account have been contradicted by witnesses who have already testified.

Constable Taylor shot Michael MacIsaac within seconds of encountering the distressed man who was in the street naked. Taylor claims that MacIsaac came at him with a table leg and that he feared for his life. Yet witnesses have testified that MacIsaac was not holding any table leg at the time he was shot. A patio table leg allegedly retrieved at the scene was lightweight and hollow.  Taylor testified that it was obvious to him that MacIsaac was in distress as soon as he saw the man. Yet he did nothing to de-escalate the situation. This despite the fact that two other police officers were already at the scene. No warning was issued to MacIsaac by any officer before the shooting.

Serious questions remain about why Constable Taylor fired a second shot at the already stricken man. It is also uncertain why Taylor exited his police car to confront the man if he feared for his life. He would have been entirely safe against the naked man from within his police vehicle. These issues raise troubling questions about the actions taken by Constable Taylor


50-Year-Old Man Dies in Custody in Thunder Bay (July 19, 2017)

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the agency that investigates police harm to civilians in Ontario, is examining the death of a 50-year-old man who was held at a police station in Thunder Bay, Ontario, on July 19, 2017. According to the SIU, police and paramedics attended an address on Fort William Road around 8 PM the evening before. After being cleared medically by paramedics, the man was taken by police to the police station and placed in a cell. The SIU reports that a bit after midnight, the man was found in his cell not breathing. He was taken to hospital by paramedics and was pronounced dead there. Thunder Bay police have garnered much negative attention recently for concerns about widespread racism within the force in relation to treatment of Indigenous residents in the area.


35-Year-Old Man Dies in Custody in Prince George (July 18, 2017)

The Independent Investigations Office (IIO), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in British Columbia is investigating the death of a 35-year-old man in police custody in Prince George in northern BC. According to an IIO media release, Prince George RCMP arrested the victim on July 18 after responding to calls about a man allegedly looking at vehicles in a parking lot on the 1000 block of Central Street West at about 10:30 PM. Several police arrived on the scene. The person targeted by an officer was arrested after an alleged struggle with police in which the victim was pepper sprayed and put in the back of a police car. At some point it was noticed that the man appeared to be having trouble breathing and an ambulance was called. The victim supposedly collapsed when removed from the police car. He was pronounced dead at the hospital a bit after midnight. None of the released details have been independently confirmed. Neither has it been confirmed that the man arrested was the man about whom the initial call to police was made.