Monthly Archives: June 2019

Fifty-Year-Old Man Dies During Arrest in Laval, Quebec (June 28, 2019)

A 50-year-old man died during an arrest at a home in Laval, Quebec in the early hours of June 28. Quebec’s Bureau of Independent Investigations (BEI), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in the province, is investigating the death. The BEI reports that police were called to a residence on 35th Avenue just after midnight following reports of a “violent family dispute.” The nature of the dispute and the man’s part in it have not been released publicly. The BEI do report that the man was being handcuffed and was on his knees when he stopped breathing. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Eight BEI officers have been assigned to investigate the killing.

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Toronto Police Shoot and Kill 21-Year-Old Man in Scarborough (June 25, 2019)

Toronto police shot and killed a 21-year-old man in Scarborough on the evening of June 25, 2019. Reports claim that Toronto police were called around 8 PM for an incident at Midland Avenue and Midwest Road near Lawrence Avenue. The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in Ontario, reports that officers with the gangs and guns unit were present prior to the shooting. The circumstances that brought them there or their relationship to the police call have not been revealed publicly.

It has been reported that an officer opened fire on a vehicle with a driver and three others in it, striking the driver who later died in hospital.

The SIU has assigned five investigators and three forensic investigators to examine the killing.


Man Dies after Arrest by Winnipeg Police (June 26, 2019)

The Independent Investigation Unit (IIU), the group that examines cases of police harming civilians in Manitoba, is investigating the death of a man following his arrest by Winnipeg police on June 26, 2019.

It has been reported that Winnipeg police responded to a call about a break-in on Alfred Avenue at about 2:30 AM. The man allegedly fled the residence before supposedly being found in some medical distress on Burrows Avenue. The man was taken to St. Boniface Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.


Calgary Police Shoot and Kill Woman (June 26, 2019)

A Calgary police officer shot and killed a woman early in the morning of June 26, 2019. The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT), the group that examines cases of police harming covilians in the province, is investigating.

It has been reported that police were called to the 2000 block of 35th Street SE at around 6 AM in response to a call claiming a “suspicious person” was wandering in and out of backyards in the area. Some interaction took place between the officer and the woman before the victim was shot. Unconfirmed reports suggest the victim used pepper spray during the interaction.

The officer who killed has been described as a female officer with six years in the Calgary Police Service. She has been placed on 30-day paid administrative leave.

This is the second police-involved death in Calgary in a week.


Police Involved in Woman’s Death in Calgary (June 19, 2019)

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in the province, is investigating the death of a woman during an unspecified interaction with police officers in downtown Calgary early in the morning of June 19, 2019. It has been reported that the death occurred along Riverfront Avenue in the city’s center. No other information has been released publicly, including why police interacted with the woman or what the interaction involved.

(Initial news reports identified the victim as a man rather than a woman.)


Ontario Provincial Police Kill 48-Year-Old “Man in Distress” in Tecumseh (June 14, 2019)

Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) shot and killed a 48-year-old man in Tecumseh, Ontario, near Windsor, on the evening of June 14, 2019. According to the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in the province, police entered a home at 605 Estate Park at around 10:15 PM. The SIU reports police were responding to calls of a “man in distress.” While interacting with the man a police officer shot discharged a firearm, striking and killing the man.

The SIU has assigned five investigators, including two forensic specialists, to the case. A post-mortem has been scheduled in London, Ontario.

Police in Canada kill numerous people experiencing mental distress each year.


Indigenous Father Geoff Morris (41) Killed by Regina Police (May 4, 2019).

The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) is calling for an independent investigation after the killing of Geoff Morris (41) by Regina Police Service officers on May 4, 2019. In a news release, FSIN Vice Chief Dutch Lerat noted that,

“We have seen officers investigating their fellow officers and we all know how those investigations turn out. We are calling on the Regina Police Service to allow for an outside and independent oversight body to be a part of this investigation. We have been calling for this for years and these senseless police-related deaths keep happening.”

Morris was shot and killed by Regina police, during what cops say was a hostage situation. There are reasons to be skeptical about this given the lack of public information around another recent alleged hostage-taking in which two people were killed by RCMP in Surrey, British Columbia in March 2019. In that case it was later revealed that police had shot and killed both people, including the alleged hostage Nona McEwan. Notably, Regina Police chief Evan Bray would not say whether an alleged hostage was still being held when the shooting occurred.

Indeed, the police justification of events is being contradicted by Morris’ fiancé, Jasmine Brass, who says she was present when Morris was killed. In her words: “Honestly it wasn’t necessary for them to kill him, they could’ve just tased him” (quoted in Melnychuck 2019). She reports that Morris had been struggling with mental health issues and that she and her sister were with Morris trying to help him the morning he was killed by police.

Brass also reports that he became more agitated when police arrived, a not uncommon occurrence as the appearance of police typically heightens tensions and stress. She gives a chilling account, saying on facebook that she heard a “bang” and felt a splatter of blood at the moment of killing. Incredibly Brass reports that police shot Morris while she sat between his legs.

Morris was biological father to four children. He also took in six other children and raised them. One daughter, Tanisha Whiteman, remembers him as a good, loving man who struggled with anxiety issues. She asks why police acted so quickly to kill. In her words:

“That’s somebody’s father. That’s somebody’s son. That’s somebody’s brother, somebody’s nephew. He was loved by so many people. Why? Just like that, he’s gone. There could have been other ways that could have been handled. They didn’t have to take someone’s life away (quoted in Whitfield 2019a).

Heartbreaking words about the role played by police came from 12-year-old son Nakayoh Friday: “I want people to know that the people who were supposed to protect us aren’t protecting us. They are killing us. I don’t want other families to go through my pain” (quoted in Whitfield 2019b).

According to Regina Police chief Evan Bray, legislation requires that the Regina Police Service’s Major Crime unit investigates the shooting. Cops investigating cops. The officer involved in the shooting was a member of the patrol response remains on active duty.

Regina police claim that the killing of Morris is the first killing by an officer in the city since 1998. Police also claim that there have been four officer-involved shootings in the last 10 years, with none of those resulting in the death of the victim.

 

Further Reading

Melnychuck, Mark. 2019. “Fiancee of Man Shot by Regina Police Questions Why Officer Used Lethal Force.” Regina Leader-Post May 6. https://www.journalpioneer.com/news/canada/fiancee-of-man-shot-by-regina-police-questions-why-officer-used-lethal-force-308570/

Whitfield, Janani. 2019a. “’He Didn’t Deserve to Die Like That’: Man Killed by Regina Police Was a ‘Family Man.’” CBC News May 5. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/hostage-taking-incident-regina-geoff-morris-1.5124018

Whitfield, Janani. 2019b. “Children of Man Shot Dead by Regina Police Say He Was Close to Turning Life Around.” CBC News May 7. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/regina-shooting-police-death-1.5126084