Category Archives: BEI

Investigation into Death of David Tshiteya Kalubi (23) in Custody of Montreal Police (Black Lives Matter)

Quebec’s Independent Investigations Bureau (BEI), the unit that examines police harm to civilians in the province, is investigating the in custody death of David Tshiteya Kalubi, a 23-year-old Black youth. Kalubi, who was arrested by Montreal police in his own neighborhood of Hochelaga, was declared dead less that 12 hours after his arrest.

Little information has been released publicly. Police say Kalubi was stopped by officers in Hochelaga and arrested on an outstanding warrant after police ran a background check. The BEI has not stated publicly what the outstanding warrant was for, only that it involved a municipal offense.

Community activists in the city, which has seen many cases of lethal police violence against civilians, and disproportionately against Black people, are raising concerns about Kalubi’s death and the actions of police. Racial profiling and so-called carding, where people are stopped by police and subjected to interrogation and/or background checks, have been strongly condemned by community members in cities across Canada. Carding goes hand in hand with profiling as Black people are disproportionately stopped for carding checks in Canadian contexts. Kalubi is of Congolese background.

Montreal police reportedly took Kalubi to the station, where he spent the night before being transferred to the municipal courthouse in Old Montreal to appear before a judge, according to the BEI. The transfer took place at 7:35 AM. Only a little more than an hour later, at 8:55 AM, a guard noticed that Kalubi was on the floor and appeared to be unconscious. He was then taken to the hospital and declared dead at 9:55 AM. Community members are raising concerns that Kalubi was subjected to differential, discriminatory, treatment because of histories of police racism in Montreal. The family, for its part has not raised the issues of racial profiling. According to the family’s lawyer, Virginie Dufresne-Lemire: “For the moment, there’s not enough information to know if it’s a case of racial profiling, but with a young black man arrested it can look like racial profiling” (quoted in MacArthur 2017).

Dan Philip, the executive director of the Black Coalition of Quebec has said publicly that it took police seven hours to notify his mother and family of Kalubi’s death. Even then, police took the opportunity to  first interrogated the family about Kalubi, before telling them he was dead, according to Philip. Said Philip, in an interview with CBC News: “They felt it was a travesty. They felt there was no compassion. They felt that there was no concern about either the death of the young man or the family themselves who have to mourn the situation” (quoted in MacArthur 2017).

Community advocates have little confidence that the BEI will provide satisfactory answers to the family’s many questions. Critics have long pointed out that the BEI includes several former police officers among its active members.  As Philips suggests: “It’s the police investigating the police. They have no interest in finding out why did he died and what negligence caused his death” (quoted in MacArthur 2017). It has also been pointed out repeatedly that the BEI lacks any meaningful diversity. It is expected that their report will not be released for another year yet.

 

Further Reading

MacArthur, Cecilia. 2017. “After a Young Man Dies in Custody, a Family Searches for Answers.” CBC News. November 24 http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/david-tshiteya-kalubi-montreal-police-1.4416153

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23-Year-Old Dies in Police Custody at Montreal Courthouse (Nov. 8, 2017)

A 23-year old man has died in police custody after being transferred to the Montreal municipal courthouse. The Independent Investigations Bureau (BEI), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in Quebec, has assigned a team of 15 investigators to examine the circumstances of the death. According to the BEI, initial reports suggest the victim was arrested by Montreal police at 10:40 PM on the evening of Tuesday, November 7, 2017. On Wednesday, November 8, at around 7:30 AM he was transferred to the Montreal municipal courthouse where he was set to await his court appearance later that day. BEI claims that at around 8:55 AM officers assigned to watch the prisoners became aware that the victim was on the ground and apparently unconscious. He was transported to hospital where he was pronounced dead only one hour later. Details of this case have not been independently confirmed publicly.


Surete du Quebec Shoot and Kill 23-Year-Old Man in La Sarre (Aug. 20, 2017)

The Independent Investigations Bureau (BEI), the unit that examines police harm to civilians in Quebec, is investigating the killing of a 23-year-old man by Surete du Quebec officers in La Sarre, a town in northwestern Quebec on August 20, 2017.

According to the BEI, two Surete du Quebec officers in vehicle patrol attempted to intercept a vehicle around 6 PM.  A police pursuit ended with the two vehicles colliding. Following the collision the victim excited his vehicle and was quickly shot by police. He died as a result of those police-inflicted wounds. Police have reported the man held a knife but none of the police accounts have been independently confirmed.

The BEI has assigned eight investigators to the case. The BEI is not an independent unit and will be assisted by a forensic identification technician and a reconstructionist from the Montreal police.


BEI Investigating Police Killing of Distressed Man Near Quebec City (August 10, 2017)

Québec’s Independent Investigations Bureau (BEI), the unit that examines police harm to civilians in the province, is investigating the killing of a 25-year old man by an officer of the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) around 7 PM on August 10, 2017 in Saint-Georges-de-Beauce, southeast of Québec City. According to the BEI, police responded to a call regarding a man experiencing some distress in the center of a street. The BEI states that the responding officer activated the flashing lights of the cruiser which caused the man to panic and run. After a foot chase that ended in a parking lot the officer shot the man. The SQ claim the man had a knife. None of the details have been independently confirmed. Eight BEI investigators have been assigned to the case and will examine the SQ version of events. The BEI is not an independent unit though and Montreal police will assist them in this investigation, which leaves police investigating police.


66-Year-Old Pedestrian Killed in Police Chase in Quebec (July 30, 2017)

A police chase in Pointe-Calumet, west of Île Bizard, Quebec, July 30, 2017, has left one pedestrian, a 66-year-old man, dead. Eight investigators of the province’s Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes (BEI, Bureau of Independent Investigations), the body that examines police harm to civilians in Quebec, are looking into the case. Police supposedly began pursuit of the car after it allegedly made “strange maneuvers.” The car later crashed into a Hydro-Quebec pole. The three occupants were arrested and taken to hospital with injuries.


Man Shot and Killed by Sûreté du Québec (July 9, 2017)

The Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes (BEI, Bureau of Independent Investigations), the body that examines cases of police harm to civilians in Quebec, is investigating the shooting of a man by the provincial police force, the Sûreté du Québec, on July 9, 2017. The initial report given by the BEI suggests that a man attended the Portneuf police station in the Quebec City area early Sunday afternoon and filed a complaint against a second person.  The target of the complaint then supposedly turned up at the police station around 3 PM and began beating cars in the parking lot with a machete. According to the BEI police claim they used pepper spray on the man before shooting him. Nine investigators from the BEI are assigned to the case. None of the police claims have been independently verified.


Montreal Police Kill Another Black Man (June 27, 2017)

The Montreal police have a terrible history of killing Black civilians. The names of some of the victims, such as Presley Leslie, Marcellus Francois, and Alain Magloire, give testimony to that fact. That is only part of the story as Black residents regularly speak out against racial profiling and violence directed against them by Montreal police. It is important to note, then, that the 58-year-old man shot multiple times and killed by Montreal police on June 27, 2017, has been identified as a Black man by the BEI (Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes, Bureau of Independent Investigations), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in Quebec. The victim has not yet been named.

The killing again raises many questions about the Montreal police force (though racism and regular deployment of lethal force are standards of police forces across Canada at municipal, provincial, and federal levels). As Fo Niemi, the executive director of Montreal’s Centre for Research Action on Race Relations, suggests: “It raises the question, ‘where do we go from here?’ Is this a case where race plays a role in this incident? Is it mental health? I think there are a lot of questions here that need to be asked because this is not a situation that should occur too often in this city” (quoted in CBC News 2017).

Before being shot the man had only been suggested to be breaking things in his apartment. Surely not a capital, or even particularly harmful “offense.” As community activist Will Prosper, a former RCMP officer, puts it the man appears not have been “presenting a menace to anyone except to his apartment” (quoted in CBC News 2017). Yet police moved to coercive, then lethal means. Questions must be asked about the role of racism, or implicit bias, in this.

Critics note that police use of threatening behavior and the display of weapons will only make the situation worse in a case of someone experiencing mental distress or already feeling anxious and defensive. As Prosper suggests: “That’s not what you need to preserve the life of the citizen. It’s going to do the [complete opposite], and I think that’s probably what happened in this case” (quoted in CBC News 2017). In Prosper’s view, the man could have benefited from someone talking to and calming him down without the presence of weapons. In Prosper’s words: “If you’re saying ‘calm down’ and you have the gun pointed at his face, that’s not going to work” (quoted in CBC News 2017). This is why police should not be sent in such cases in place of health care providers (if anyone needs to be sent for smashing dishes at home at all).

Police racism and the killings of Black men have received too little public attention and ire. These realities have been ideologically downplayed by governments at all levels. They have also been distorted and denied by police officers, forces, and associations. Criminologists in Canada have also done too little to expose and challenge these issues, too often playing the part of police apologists. Black Lives Matter activists and movements have done much work to shift understandings in the Canadian context.

 

Further Reading

CBC News. 2017. “’Where do We Go from Here?’ Fatal Shooting by Montreal Police Raises Hard Questions.” CBC News. June 28. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/montreal-police-shooting-mental-illness-1.4181469