The Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes (BEI), the agency that investigates cases of police harm to civilians in Quebec, have named Zachary Fairbairn (28) as the man who died during a police foot chase in Gatineau, Quebec on June 21, 2018. The BEI have not publicly named the officers involved in the fatal chase.
Monthly Archives: June 2018
Black lives matter. In Canada as in the United States Black people are disproportionately killed by police, though less attention is given to lethal police violence in Canada compared with the US. On June 22, 2018, Olando Brown, a thirty-two-year-old Black man, a father with an 11-year-old daughter, died during an arrest by police in the town of Barrie, Ontario.
The arrest took place around 2:30 PM near the Tim Hortons donut shop at the Five Points hotel in downtown Barrie. According to witnesses Brown was tased multiple times by Barrie police officers. Questions are being asked why he was not given immediate medical attention rather than being processed by Barrie police. Brown went into medical distress while being booked by police at the police station. He was pronounced dead at hospital. The Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the agency that investigates cases of police harm to civilians in Ontario, is examining Brown’s killing.
The violence inflicted by police against Black people in Canada has long been disproportionate. The killing of Olando Brown, a Black man, must be placed within this context. Olando Brown’s aunt, Barbara South, says her nephew was known as someone who would always lend a helping hand and suggests that he would have never died in custody if he was white. She is very clear in her assessment of what police did to Olando Brown: “My nephew was murdered. There’s no doubt about that” (quoted in CTV 2018).
A cellphone video taken by a witness shows officers physically confronting Brown and using tasers to take him down. The person holding the camera says Brown was trying to lay down and had already been hit with a taser. Brown is seen getting off the ground, where he appears to be punched and hit with a taser again. Witness Lance Freeman reports: “They asked him to see his ID and before he even had a chance to pull his ID out, the one guy just kicked him, (and) the other guy just starting Tasing him,” said Lance Freeman, who witnessed the arrest” (quoted in CTV 2018).
A man, who identifies himself only as a longtime friend of Olando Brown is among those asking questions about police actions. In his words:
“I knew him personally and he was a very kind person, like he would give the shirt off his back. It’s an unfortunate situation and he didn’t deserve it. To be honest with you, I don’t know the incident. All I know is apparently the cops came down on him when he was over there (behind the bushes behind Tim Hortons) and that’s the story. From that it was just Taser after Taser after Taser. I kind of had faith in the police here because this was supposed to only happen in America, not here. It shouldn’t happen anywhere, but you only see things like that on the U.S. news, but here especially in small-town, nice Canada, it’s not right.” (quoted in Gibson 2018)
Brown’s friend asks why medical attention was not given following the multiple deployments of taser: “What is the protocol when you Taser someone and especially after that many? Why wasn’t he just taken to hospital for a check-up? He would have been in handcuffs, he wasn’t going anywhere and the police could have seen if he was OK and then processed him” (quoted in Gibson 2018).
He also noted the over-policing of people in that area of Barrie. There is no way for people to trust police given their actions he concludes. In his words: “But, now how we are supposed to feel when the cops come around and try to talk to us, how we supposed to trust them? It’s unfortunate all around because a man died who didn’t deserve it and now people may start to feel uneasy” (quoted in Gibson 2018).
The reason for the arrest has not been disclosed by Barrie police and has not been confirmed publicly.
The Video (Warning: Disturbing Content)
CTV. 2018. “Ontario Police Watchdog Investigating After Man Dies in Custody.” CTV News June 25. https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/watchdog-investigating-after-man-dies-in-custody-1.3987769
Gibson, Shawn. 2018. “Friends of Man Who Died After Being Tasered on Friday Shocked, Upset.” Barrie Today June 24. https://www.barrietoday.com/police-beat/friends-of-man-who-died-after-being-tasered-on-friday-shocked-upset-964787
Gatineau, Quebec, police are under investigation after a 28-year-old man was struck and killed by a vehicle during a police chase early in the morning of Thursday, June 21, 2018. The Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes (BEI), the agency that investigates cases of police harm to civilians in the province, report that Gatineau police received a call at around 1:20 AM regarding a man trying to steal vehicles at Casino du Lac-Leamy. According to the BEI, a police officer saw a man who matched a description and approached the man, causing him to flee on foot. The BEI say that the officer ran after the man, who was then struck by a vehicle on boulevard Montclair. None of these claims have been independently confirmed publicly.
The BEI is not an independent investigative body. It relies on police from other forces to carry out investigations into police. In this case the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) are providing two officers to participate in the investigation.
On Monday, June 11, 2018, trial began for killer cop Patrick Ouellet of the provincial police force, the Sûreté du Québec (SQ), in the death of five-year-old Nicholas Thorne-Belance in 2014. Officer Ouellet is charged with one count of dangerous driving causing death in the case. Thorne-Belance was a passenger in his father’s car when it was struck by the unmarked police cruiser driven by Ouellet. Ouellet’s vehicle was traveling at more than 120 km/h in a 50 km/h zone in the Longueuil borough of Saint-Hubert, south of Montreal when he hit the vehicle the five-year-old was in. The trial is scheduled to last two weeks.
The Ottawa police tactical officer who shot and killed Raymond Alliman (31) in the morning of June 3, 2017 has been identified as Constable Aaron Reichert. Reichert fired nine shots at Alliman, hitting the man in the head and killing him, in a parking garage after pursuing Alliman from the city’s Byward Market. Alliman was suspected of shooting two men and killing one.
In May, 2018, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), which examines cases of police harm to civilians in Ontario, cleared Reichert of any wrongdoing in the killing of Raymond Alliman. The SIU reported that only 76 seconds passed from Reichert’s first radio dispatch saying he thought he had heard a gunshot (with no suspect identified) to the constable telling dispatch about a second shooting. The SIU report suggests that Alliman had opportunities to fire at Reichert but did not. Alliman was pronounced dead at the scene.
Toronto police shot and killed a man in the city’s east end in the early morning of June 7, 2018. According to unconfirmed police reports, officers responded just before midnight to calls regarding a person with a gun on Hymus Road, in the Warden Avenue and Eglinton Avenue East area of Toronto. Police allege that when officers arrived on the scene, one of the officers had an interaction and shots were fired. A person was taken to a hospital trauma center but was pronounced dead there. Police allege an officer was injured in the interaction.
The Toronto Police Association wasted no time in turning the killing by their members onto a call for more police officers in the city and blamed the event on “understaffing,” a cynical ploy if ever there was one. As crime rates decline. Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders responded by confirming that the Toronto police are actively hiring to expand the force, which already takes up the greatest portion of the city budget. Chief Saunders said that the Toronto police are looking to hire 200 new staff members by the end of this summer.
The Special Investigations Unit, the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians is investigating.
Calgary police shot and killed a 33-year-old woman in the southeast community of Penbrooke on May 17, 2018. Police allegedly responded with a canine unit to a reported break-in at a home on the 100 block of Penbrooke Close SE a bit after 11 AM. While the tactical unit was setting up police entered a room in the basement where two people were believed to be present. One officer reportedly fired an Arwen plastic bullet gun, striking a man. Soon after the man was hit an officer shot and killed the woman. She was declared dead at the scene.
Police report that both tactical unit officers who fired their weapons were constables. One has been with the Calgary force for seven years, the other for 12 years. None of the police reports have been independently confirmed publicly. The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT), the institution that examines cases of police harm to civilians in the province, is investigating.