Category Archives: Deaths

Two Die Following Police Pursuit Near Ottawa (July 7, 2019)

Two people, a 36-year-old man and a 62-year-old woman have been killed in a six-car crash following a police pursuit on July 7, 2019 on Highway 417 near Ottawa. Officers of the Ottawa Police Service and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) had initiated pursuit of a vehicle driven by the 36-year-old victim.

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU, the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in Ontario) reports that the crash incident was initiated with a call from a man reporting that his daughter had been abused by a family friend at a Kanata hotel. This means the identity of the alleged suspect was known and under Ontario rules a police pursuit should not have been undertaken (where a suspect’s identity is known).

The SIU has designated one Ottawa police officer as the subject of its investigation, and also identified three other “witness officers,” two of whom are OPP officers. The agency assigned three investigators, two forensic specialists, and a collision reconstruction expert to its investigation team.

According to Ottawa defence lawyer Lawrence Greenspon, the main job for the SIU is to determine why the pursuit was launched given the identity of the suspect was known to police. While rules govern when a suspect should be pursued, Greenspon notes that too often those regulations are not followed. He outlines the too regular script followed by police:

“Every time there’s a crash like this it’s the same story: ‘We started the pursuit and it was stopped before the fatal collision took place.’ The big question here that needs to be answered is: Why were they chasing him in the first place? If they knew his identity, why start chasing him?” (quoted in Duffy, Yogaretnam, Gillis, and Miller 2019).

In Ottawa, the police service’s policy “requires that officers only engage in a pursuit if they believe a crime has been committed and if there’s no alternative for apprehending a suspect who poses a threat to public safety” (Duffy, Yogaretnam, Gillis, and Miller 2019).

 

Further Reading

Duffy, Andrew, Shaamini Yogaretnam, Megan Gillis, and Jacquie Miller. 2019. “Updated — Highway 417 Crash: Vehicle Pursuit Stemmed from Sexual Assault Investigation.” Ottawa Citizen July 9. https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/multi-vehicle-crash-closes-westbound-highway-417-at-panmure-road


Man Dies in Fall During Interaction with Vancouver Police (July 13, 2019)

The Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia, the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in the province, is investigating a police-involved death during an incident in Vancouver on July 13, 2019. According to the IIO, Vancouver Police report that officers responded to a report of a person throwing property from the upper floor of a residential building on Bidwell Street in Vancouver. A man fell from an upper floor to the ground shortly after officers entered the building. He did not survive the fall.


Improperly Parked Police Vehicle Rolls Over, Kills Assault Victim (Salluit, Nunavut, July 5, 2019)

A 58-year-old assault victim who had been badly beaten was killed when an improperly parked vehicle of the Kativik Regional Police Force rolled over him. The death occurred in Salluit, Nunavut, on the evening of July 5, 2019. Allegedly responding to a call about a brawl, police moved to make an arrest rather than ensuring their vehicle was securely parked. The man was pronounced dead at a local health center.

The Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes (Bureau of Independent Investigations, BEI), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians, has dispatched eight investigators to look into the killing. The BEI is not truly an independent agency as it relies on police to carry out investigations. A collision expert with the Quebec provincial police force, the Sûreté du Québec (SQ), will be involved in this investigation.

Salluit, located near the Hudson Strait, has a population of around 1600 people.


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.)


Man Dies Following Police Interaction, IIO Discontinues Investigation (April 6/7, 2019)

A man died following an interaction with Saanich Police (British Columbia) on April 6, 2019. It has been reported that police had contact with the man on April 6, 2019. The man was then hospitalized overnight and died after being released from hospital on April 7.

The Independent Investigations Office (IIO), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians, has announced that it has discontinued the investigation despite reporting publicly that “Saanich Police notified the IIO regarding an incident that resulted in the death of a male on April 7, 2019.” No further details have been released publicly, including why the investigation was ended if police were involved in an incident resulting in someone’s death, or what the incident was specifically.

The investigation into this death will now be undertaken by the BC Coroners Service.


Police Fire Weapons, Two Dead in Alleged Hostage Taking in Surrey, BC (Mar. 29, 2019)

Two people have been left dead after police fired shots during an alleged hostage taking in Surrey, British Columbia on March 29, 2019. The Independent Investigations Office (IIO), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in British Columbia, has reported that the victims were a man and a woman who knew each other. Friends and family of the woman who was killed have identified her as Nona McEwan. It has been reported that RCMP and the Lower Mainland Emergency Response Team were called to a home at 98A Avenue and 133 Street (13300 98A) around 9:30 PM.

The IIO have reported publicly that at around 7:30 AM the Emergency Response Team (ERT) entered the home and “a confrontation” with an allegedly “barricaded male ensued.” This encounter ended with the discharge of gunfire by police. It has been reported that the body of a man was recovered and that he had been shot. It has not been stated publicly who fired the fatal shot or shots. A woman was also found to have been injured and, again, the source of the injury or injuries ahs not been disclosed. The woman was taken to hospital where she later died.

No other confirmed details have been released publicly at the time of this posting.


Police Shooting Leaves Man Dead at Queensborough Landing Mall in New Westminster, BC (Feb. 24, 2019)

A police shooting has left a man dead at the Queensborough Landing mall in New Westminster, British Columbia, on Sunday, February 24 at around 9:40 PM.

According to the Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIO), the unit that examines cases of police harm in the province, police claim they responded to a report of a man with a firearm at the rear of the Walmart at 805 Boyd Street. The IIO reports that two officers at the scene fired their weapons. The encounter left the man dead. The IIO says it is investigating the cause of his death and whether the shots that caused the man’s death came from his own firearm or from those of the police at the scene.

It has been reported that the man was experiencing mental distress. No other information has been publicly released. It has not been independently confirmed that the victim had a weapon let alone discharged it.