Phony criminology has been used to provide justification and cover for authorities throughout the course of the discipline. One can go back at least to the quackery of Cesare Lombroso who used facial structures and other physical features to reinforces prejudices of the impoverished working class as the born criminal (which also served nicely to direct attention away from corporate or state crime). One of the most pernicious and insulting “ideas” of phony criminology in recent years is the notion of so-called suicide by cop. This fake theory has been mostly promoted and peddled by cops and former cops posing as criminologists (and using this “research” to secure plum faculty positions in universities). It has been used largely to get killer cops off the hook in criminal proceedings and thus the suicide by cop specialists typically make their services available to police associations and defense teams trying to protect cops in the rare trials and inquiries that police who kill civilians are subjected to.
In 2017 an inquest will be held into the police killing of 44-year-old Roy Thomas Bell in 2007 in Winnipeg. The bogus notion of suicide by cop will play a key part in this. In January, a standing hearing will be held to determine who will be allowed to participate in the inquest.
Roy Thomas Bell was a former member of the Canadian Armed Forces who was killed in December 2007 by police officers responding to a 911 call. Friends of the victim suggest that he had been dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder after having served in the military for over 20 years prior to his release from the forces in 2004.
According to a provincial news release Bell threatened arriving officers with some form of weapon described as nothing more than two sticks connected by a chain (would be nunchucks). Police had erroneously claimed at the time of the killing that Bell had a firearm and a bat. This was not proven out. Still police tased the man before firing their handguns, with multiple shots hitting the victim. Bell was transported to hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Witnesses at the time reportedly heard Bell say the officers should shoot him and this has given the police the in they needed to use the suicide by cop excuse. Never mind that the man only held basic nunchucks yet was shot seral times by police. Never mind too that someone asking the cops to shoot them would seem to pose little threat to them and would probably necessitate an alternative response. Any cop responding to such a request affirmatively should be seriously questioned.
The inquest has been called by the chief medical examiner under the Fatality Inquiries Act and will examine the circumstances and events surrounding the killing. Such inquests typically make non-binding recommendations about measures to lessen the likelihood of such incidents in the future.
There are real concerns here that phony criminologists will be allowed to participate and peddle their bogus suicide by cop obfuscations and legitimation. Thus such an inquiry can become an ideological tool to justify the killing by police in question as well as providing a precedent for justifying future killings on these nonsensical grounds.