Constable Brian Taylor has been identified as the Durham police officer who shot and killed 47-year-old Michael MacIsaac on December 2, 2013 in a residential neighborhood in Ajax, Ontario. Constable Taylor shot Mr. MacIsaac twice within 12 seconds of exiting his police cruiser. The coroner’s inquest in to the killing started in July 2017 and Taylor is scheduled to testify during the week of July 17, likely on July 20. As is the case for most killer cops, Officer Taylor was cleared of criminal wrongdoing in two previous reviews, one by the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in Ontario, and the second by the Office of the Independent Police Review Director.
The MacIsaac family has always maintained that the victim was struggling with an epilepsy-related incident in which he ran into the street naked and engaged with passing drivers. This had followed a confrontation inside a family house involving MacIsaac, his wife, and her sister.
The inquest and its jury of four men and one woman have already heard from Michael MacIsaac’s sister, Joanne MacIsaac, and his wife, Marianne Madjarian. Marianne Madjarian, testified on July 17, that in her view something was wrong with her husband on the morning of the shooting. She had not witnessed any comparable behavior previously, and was, thus, unsure what she should do. She said that he loved his family very much and had no history of violence. In her testimony, Joanne MacIsaac explained her brother’s history of epileptic seizures and the prolonged states of confusion that followed from them. She related that she had spoken to her brother two days before he was shot and in her view he seemed to be in good spirits.
The family has been insistent that they do not want this inquiry to make a familiar recommendation of increased taser use. This is neither appropriate nor effective for people in health distress. In Joanne MacIsaac’s words: “In my opinion, the people who are being shot and killed by police are not the people shooting back, they are the vulnerable sector of society. I know additional Taser use comes out in all these inquests. I don’t think that’s the answer” (quoted in Powers 2017). Instead people in distress need to be given more care and time.
As Madjarian said: “He was in a mental health crisis, which is apparent when you’re running around naked on a cold morning. He needed help. He was not a criminal” (quoted in Powers 2017). Regardless, police are killing too many people, for doing little, who pose no real threat to them
Powers, Lucas. 2017. “Officer Who Shot and Killed Michael MacIsaac to Testify as Inquest Begins.” CBC News. July 17. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/michael-macisaac-durham-police-shooting-inquest-1.4208828