Category Archives: Black Lives Matter

Clive Mensah Identified as Man Killed by Peel Police in November 2019

Clive Mensah, a 30-year-old Black man, has been identified as the person killed by Peel Regional Police in Mississauga, Ontario, on November 20, 2019. Mr. Mensah’s family came forward publicly with this information on July 21, 2020, partly inspired by the growing attention to police killings of Black and Indigenous people in Canada and the Black Lives Matter movement. Those mobilizations have brought a focus on police killings of people experiencing mental health crises or as part of police “wellness checks” (which are not about wellness at all).

They report that since their loved one’s killing in 2019, they have heard almost nothing from investigators with the Special Investigations Unit (SIU). They are desperate for answers about why police killed their family member, who was unarmed and known to struggle with mental health issues.

Hospital records from the killing show that Mensah was “Tased approximately six times.” He was found lying on the ground and handcuffed by paramedics. The hospital report also records that paramedics faced a delay in reaching the victim because “police cruisers blocked roadway to scene.” Paramedics reportedly had to park between 15 to 18 meters away from where Mr. Mensah lay.

Here was the initial Killer Cops Canada report at the time:

“A 30-year-old man has died after being tasered by Peel Regional Police in Mississauga, Ontario (Greater Toronto Area), during an aggressive arrest.

According to the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the agency that investigates cases of police harm to civilians in Ontario, Peel Regional Police say they were called to Runningbrook Drive in Mississauga at around 3:15 AM on report of a “suspicious male causing a disturbance.” Officers allegedly encountered the man in the backyard of a residence and, according to the SIU, some type of “struggle ensued.”

SIU spokesperson Monica Hudon reports: “As part of the struggle, several use-of-force options were used, including the deployment of a conducted energy weapon.” The man was taken into custody and soon after lost consciousness. According to Hudon, the victim was taken to a local hospital and pronounced dead shortly around 4:19 AM.

No other details have yet been released publicly, including the nature of force or compliance measures used by police against the victim during the fatal encounter and arrest.

This is the second death in Mississauga in months involving conducted energy weapons. The SIU is still investigating the death of a 34-year-old man when police used a stun gun against him on September 10, 2019. These are not “non-lethal” weapons as has been shown in numerous cases.”


Caleb Tubila Njoko (26) Dies After “Fall” From Balcony During London Police Operation (May 4, 2020) Black Lives Matter

It has been announced that Caleb Tubila Njoko, a 26-year-old Black man who reportedly fell from a 15th floor balcony during a police operation in London, Ontario, on May 4, 2020, has died. Mr. Njoko died on May 8, but his death was only confirmed by the Special Investigations Unit on June 3. There has been no public explanation for the delay in this.

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in Ontario, is investigating. They report that London police responded to 85 Walnut Street on May 4 at around 11:15 PM on a call of a person in distress. Officers entered an apartment on the 15th floor and, at some point, the victim “fell” from a balcony. He was taken to hospital in critical condition and died there four days later.

This is the second Black person to have been killed in what is reported publicly as a fall from a balcony during a police operation in Ontario in May alone. On May 27, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, a 29-year-old Black woman, was killed in a “fall” from an apartment balcony in Toronto. Family members and witnesses report that she was shoved off the balcony by Toronto police. Because police control the information that is released when they kill, their version of events must be treated with skepticism and there is a real need to hear from witnesses, if any were present.

Notably, both of these deaths involved police interventions against someone in distress. Police are not suitable for mental health care or interacting with people in distress. Proper health supports and care are needed but are denied resources when those resources go instead to police budgets.

The SIU has assigned one subject officer and three witness officers to its probe. One might ask why the SIU has designated one subject officer if the incident was straightforwardly a “fall.”


Family Members Report Regis Korchinski-Paquet Killed by Toronto Police (May 27, 2020) Black Lives Matter

Family members and witnesses have reported that Regis Korchinski-Paquet, a 29-year-old Black woman, was killed by being shoved off an apartment balcony by Toronto police on the evening of May 27, 2020. They also report that there was interference by police in preventing them from getting their story to mass media.

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in Ontario is examining the case. According to the SIU, police claim they were called to an apartment building near High Park Avenue and Bloor Street West, at around 5:15 PM. The SIU say that when officers entered a unit on the 24th floor, “A short time later, the woman fell from the balcony to the ground below.”

Witnesses, including the victim’s mother, say that this is not what happened and that Regis Korchinski-Paquet was shoved by officers. Witnesses also claim that her body was left on the ground below for a substantial amount of time. We know in case after case of police killings of civilians that the word of police when they kill is to be treated with the highest degree of skepticism. Families who have had to suffer the brutality of seeing a loved one killed by police need to be listened to and believed.

The SIU has assigned two investigators and two forensic investigators to the killing.

For a video report by family members see: https://twitter.com/YAMAGUCHlll/status/1265841816462602240


Victim of Peel Police Killing Identified as D’Andre Campbell, A Black Man in Mental Health Crisis (April 6, 2020)

The 26-year-old killed by Peel Regional Police on April 6, 2020, has been identified by family as D’Andre Campbell, a Black man who experienced mental health issues. Police knew of his mental health struggles when they arrived at the home on Sawston Circle, in the area of Edenbrook Hill Drive and Bovaird Drive, in Brampton, Ontario. Police tased Campbell and shot him multiple times, according to family members who were present.

In a statement, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in Ontario, reports that two officers tased the victim before one of the officers fired his gun multiple times.

D’Andre Campbell’s brother, Dajor Campbell has since said that his brother had mental health issues and that police had been to the home several times previously. In his words:

“Police have been to the house before, but nothing like this. That’s why I’m saying I’m confused. They came to the house 1,000 times, multiple times. I don’t know why this time they decided to shoot him.” (quoted in Freeman 2020)

Dajor Campbell says that, in fact, his brother was the one who called police and he cannot understand why police did not know how to interact with his brother on this occasion: “He’s the one that called them too, so how you gonna come into the house and shoot him. That doesn’t make sense” (quoted in Freeman 2020).

The family says that D’Andre Campbell’s mother and several younger siblings were in the home at the time and some of them witnessed the killing (Freeman 2020).

 

Further Reading

Freeman, Joshua. 2020. “Man, 26, Dead After Being Shot by Police in Brampton.” CP24 April 6. https://www.cp24.com/mobile/news/man-26-dead-after-being-shot-by-police-in-brampton-1.4885134


Jamal Francique Shot and Killed by Peel Regional Police in Mississauga (Jan. 7-10, 2020) Black Lives Matter

A 28-year-old man shot in Mississauga, Ontario (suburban Toronto) by a Peel Regional Police officer on January 7, 2020, died on January 10 after several days in hospital for treatment. The victim was later identified as Jamal Francique, a Black man. According to the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in the province, Peel Regional Police claim the shots were fired by an officer during an investigation at a housing complex on Winston Churchill Boulevard, just south of Eglinton Avenue West, in Mississauga.

Peel Regional Police allege they attempted to arrest a suspect in a vehicle. They claim: “One of the officers fired several shots at the vehicle at which time the vehicle swerved into a garage.”

The driver of the vehicle was taken by paramedics to hospital in life-threatening condition. It has not been reported publicly whether the man shot was the supposed suspect or not.

The SIU is investigating the killing.


Winnipeg Police Shoot and Kill Machuar Mawien Madut: South Sudanese Migrant in Mental Health Crisis (Feb. 23, 2019)

Winnipeg police shot and killed Machuar Mawien Madut, a 43-year-old South Sudanese migrant whom community members have said was struggling with mental health issues due to separation from his family. The Council of South Sudanese Community of Manitoba identified Madut as the victim shot by police on Saturday, February 23, 2019.

The Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba (IIU), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in the province, reports that police were called to 82 Colony Street at 9:43 AM regarding a man armed with a hammer potentially breaking into a suite. Madut was shot by police and taken to Health Sciences Centre where he later died.

Sandy Deng, a member of the community, rejects the police explanation of the killing. In her words:

“It breaks my heart. This is a typical stereotype for a lot of people who come from marginalized communities, because there’s always a justification for a shooting. He was a human being. He was supposed to be supported. He was one day away from seeing his mental health specialist, and instead of mobile crisis being called, the police were called.” (quoted in CBC News 2019)

Madut and his family fled war in Sudan, coming to Canada in 2003. He had four children who moved to British Columbia with his wife after the couple separated a couple of years ago and Madut had struggled with mental health since then.

Deng described him as a very kind man:

“He came to the community here all the time to hang out, he never really bothered anybody. Apart from that, he had been living with a lot of challenges, including mental health, language barriers, adjustment to this new community.” (quoted in CBC News 2019)

The Council of South Sudanese Community of Manitoba had been working with health services, including the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and Manitoba’s Employment and Income Assistance Program, to help Madut with his mental health issues.

On Saturday, before he was shot by police, Madut had been moving furniture out of his apartment for as yet unknown reasons. A cousin, Ayei Madut, said the man had been dealing with a broken door in his apartment.

Ayei Madut also questions why police responded , and so immediately, with lethal force. In his words:

“I’m really not trusting the police, because we assume they have all the resource how to deal with people with mental issues, with different background. For me I can’t even trust them because this situation, I could do it better than whatever they did.” (quoted in CBC News 2019)

Alexa Potashnik, president of Black Space Winnipeg, also directed skepticism toward Winnipeg police. As she notes: “This just unfortunately is a reminder that police brutality and violence happens in all areas across our country and we need answers” (quoted in CBC News 2019).

She adds that violence against Black people by police must be addressed in Winnipeg. In her view:

“There’s no justice or accountability from the Winnipeg police department and this is unacceptable and it’s an inexcusable act of violence toward the South Sudanese community, toward the black community. We’re not going to take this lying down and we’re going to show up and demand justice for our community.” (quoted in CBC News 2019)

The killing by police of a Black man and man experiencing mental health distress highlights ongoing issues of police violence and use of lethal force in Canada.

The Council of South Sudanese Community of Manitoba will hold a rally outside police headquarters on March 1 to demand answers “and shed light into the gaps that we have in mental health services and how police officers might not be well-equipped to deal with people with mental health issues and language barriers” (quoted in CBC News 2019).

Machuar Mawien Madut is the third person shot by Winnipeg police already in 2019.

 

Further Reading

CBC News. 2019. “’It’s Devastating’: South Sudanese Condemn Fatal Police Shooting of Man with Mental Health Issues.” CBC News. February 25. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/man-shot-police-south-sudanese-community-1.5032314


Killer Cop Patrick Ouellet Gets 8 Months for Killing Five-Year-Old Nicholas Thorne-Belance

Killer cop Patrick Ouellet of the Sûreté du Québec (SQ), the provincial police force, has been sentenced to eight months in jail for killing five-year-old Nicholas Thorne-Belance in February 2014. Ouellet had been found guilty of dangerous driving causing death in July 2018 for crashing his police vehicle into the car in which Thorne-Belance was riding, killing the child.

Ouellet was driving an unmarked police cruiser at more than 100 km/h in a 50 km/h zone in Saint-Hubert, when he smashed into the side of the car carrying Nicholas, his sister and his father.

Quebec court Judge Éric Simard handed down the sentence on November 18 at the Longueuil courthouse. In addition to the eight-month sentence, Ouellet will also be banned from driving for 20 months.

Crown lawyer Geneviève Langlois said the sentence was intended to make a statement: “The incarceration sends a clear message to the police community regarding the criminal behavior adopted by police officers in the course of their duties.”

This is a curious statement given the shortness of the sentence and the fact that initially the Crown did not even press charges against Ouellet. At the time they said that speeding was not a sufficient reason to lay charges.

It was only after immense public outcry that the case was examined closely, and charges brought forward. Then-justice minister Stephanie Vallée appointed a panel of independent prosecutors, including a retired judge, to look at the case. Ouellet was only charged in May 2015, more than a year after the crash.
Killer cop Ouellet is currently appealing the verdict.


Video Shows Montreal Police Shoot Nicholas Gibbs in the Back (Black Lives Matter)

On August 21, 2018 Montreal police shot and killed 23-year-old Nicholas Gibbs, a young Black man. He was shot five times, twice in the back. On October 30, 2018, eyewitness video of the police killing of Nicholas Gibbs was released publicly by the Gibbs family and their support network. The video clearly shows that Nicholas Gibbs posed no direct threat to police when he was killed. Police shouted at him in French only, though Gibbs spoke English. The family has announced a lawsuit against the Montreal police.

Nicholas Gibbs was the father of three young children. A fundraising campaign has been established to support the Gibbs family through this awful time. Families of people killed by police are not eligible for any of the state support that is now made available to victims of criminal acts.

The fundraising campaign can be accessed here: https://www.gofundme.com/justice-pourfor-nicholas-gibbs

The video (Warning: it shows Nicholas Gibbs killing by police): https://www.facebook.com/NoBordersMediaNetwork/posts/458611824546185


Killer Cop Patrick Ouellet Found Guilty of Dangerous Driving for Killing Five-Year-Old Nicholas Thorne-Belance

Killer cop Patrick Ouellet has been found guilty of dangerous driving in the death of five-year-old Nicholas Thorne-Belance on Montreal’s South Shore in 2014. The Quebec provincial police (Sûreté du Québec, SQ) officer was in an unmarked police cruiser, tailing a suspect at more than 100 km/h in a 50 km/h zone, when he struck and killed Nicholas Thorne-Belance in Saint-Hubert.

In a ruling issued Thursday, July 19, 2018, in Longueuil, Quebec court Judge Éric Simard concluded there was nothing to justify the speed at which Ouellet was driving and that there were “inherent” risks in that activity.

Wrote Simard in his decision: “His failure to take steps to avoid such risks constitutes a marked departure from the standard of care that a reasonable person in the same situation would follow” (quoted in Turnbull 2018).

Ouellet reached a speed of 134 km/h on Gaétan-Boucher Boulevard in the period before the accident — and 108 km/h at the moment of impact. At the intersection of Gaétan-Boucher and Davis, Ouellet struck a vehicle carrying two children in the backseat. Nicholas Thorne-Belance was critically injured and died in hospital five days later (Turnbull 2018).

Ouellet had tried to claim in trial that the crash was unavoidable. The Crown argued that the driving was “objectively dangerous.”

Incredibly, the Crown had initially decided to not lay charges. That decision was only reversed in 2015 after Justice Minister Stéphanie Vallée ordered an independent review of the case amid growing community outcry. The first inclination of the state is always to protect the state. Community mobilization can affect that.

Sentencing is scheduled for October 22, 2018. Convictions for dangerous driving causing death carry a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison. We will see if a killer cop gets anything near that.

 

Further Reading

Turnbull, Jay. 2018. “Quebec Police Officer Found Guilty of Speeding, Causing Death of 5-Year-Old.” CBC News. July 19. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/quebec-officer-guilty-boys-death-1.4751032


Barrie Police Tase, Kill Olando Brown (32) (June 22, 2018) (Black Lives Matter)

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)

 

Further Reading

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