Category Archives: Killer Cops

License to Kill: Killer Cop Elizabeth Cucheran Let Off by Crown for Hudson Brooks Killing

When it comes to police killings of civilians, the state protects the state. This is not surprising given that police are the force of brute violence (the state’s monopoly on violence) which always accompanies and underpins the state’s legislative (ideological) face. Law and force go hand in hand.

On July 18, 2015, RCMP Constable Elizabeth Cucheran shot 20-year-old Hudson Brooks nine times outside the RCMP detachment in South Surrey, killing him. The Constable fired a dozen times at the youth, who was shirtless and shoeless and in some mental health distress. On September 18, 2019, more than four years later, the British Columbia prosecution service announced that charges of aggravated assault and assault with a weapon had been stayed against Constable Cucheran.

That the killer cop did not even face charges of murder or manslaughter for shooting an unarmed youth nine times and that it took more than four years to reach this decision shows the special manner with which police who kill are treated by the state in Canada.

Even more, in announcing their the prosecution service chose to emphasize that “the law is clear that even the mistaken belief in the need to use lethal force is a complete defence.” Killer cops always have this excuse, no matter how unjustified, ludicrous, or unsubstantiated, at their ready disposal. It is all they ever need to kill when they want, under whatever conditions they themselves alone decide. Police define the circumstances and they define reasonableness. Even if they are mistaken or lying. Few prosecutors, who depend on police for their cases (and who also uphold the state as do police), will ever challenge them. It is literally a license to kill.

This case earlier showed as well the way in which police lie after they kill someone to suggest that the victim posed a greater threat than they did. To blame the victim. Initial RCMP statements suggested that there had been an exchange of gunfire and an officer was also shot. This gave a public impression that Brooks had been armed and there had been some sort of gunfight between the victim and officers. It was later revealed that Constable Cucheran, in a lethal panic, had shot herself among the 12 shots she fired.

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Killer Ottawa Cops Identified as Thanh Tran and Daniel Vincelette: Shot Greg Ritchie of Saugeen First Nation

Greg Ritchie, a 30-year-old Ojibwe man from Saugeen First Nation near Owen Sound, Ontario, has been identified as the man shot and killed by Ottawa police on January 31. Family members have spoken publicly to say he was experiencing mental health crises and was heading to a pharmacy to pick up medication when he was shot and killed by police. The responding officers have been identified as Ottawa constables Thanh Tran and Daniel Vincelette. Witnesses have reported hearing more than two shots. Tran is a repeat offender. He and another officer had been charged, in September 2011, with assault causing bodily harm following the arrest of an intoxicated 50-year-old homeless man.

Family members say Ritchie, who had been taken from his mother and placed in foster care, had struggled with mental health issues from a young age. He had moved to Ottawa to live with his brother and his partner. Ritchie’s sister-in-law reports that he was in good spirits the morning he was killed, having received his Ontario Disability Support Program payment and going out for a coffee. He then set out to get his medication, suffering a headache and recovering from a concussion. He had been a customer at the pharmacy at Elmvale Acres Mall since arriving in Ottawa.

Police allegedly received a call about a “suspicious incident.” This is a painfully poignant description given that Ritchie’s family says he had an ongoing fear that people viewed him suspiciously because of the way he looked and because of his Indigenous identity.

In the words of his sister-in-law, Chantel Ritchie:

“And the thing is, that’s not the kind of guy he is. He gets scared…and that’s the saddest part. We know that he was in complete and utter terror in a moment like that. He’s scared of just going into a grocery store…of just being in a crowd, because he’s afraid that people want to do something to him or don’t like him because of the way he looks.

“And honestly, we’ve seen it. People just take one look and that’s it. He’s First Nations, he’s been homeless before, and he is afraid. People just take all of that in one look and then make assumptions and then act on it. And it just really hurts that we weren’t there to be able to calm him down because there’s no way that any of this would have happened if we were there. There’s no way.” (quoted in CBC News 2019)

Chantal Ritchie says Greg Ritchie felt better around family and was very involved in learning about his culture. She worries that cultural materials he carried with him might have been misinterpreted as weapons by the police who killed him. In her words:

“I could tell right away he suffered from mental illness, but when he was around family he was very happy. He was very into his culture and learning about his ancestors. He did sometimes exhibit that he feels the pain of what happened to his people…but he was just happy to be around family and to be at powwows and helping at those events.

“He was sometimes hired to keep sacred fires going at ceremonies, and spent time in woods and rivers looking for arrowheads. It also comforted him to recreate arrowheads and other artifacts.

“Those things he keeps on his person because it makes him feel safe. We always tell him, don’t bring it with you anywhere, because we were afraid of this very thing happening.” (quoted in CBC News 2019)

One witness, Shireen Moodley, reports hearing multiple rapid-fire gunshots

 

Further Reading

CBC News. 2019. “Greg Ritchie ID’d as Man Shot and KIlled by Police at Mall.” CBC News. February 1. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/ottawa-fatal-police-shooting-family-1.5000285


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.


Killer Cop Remo Romano Gets Eight Month for Killing Carla Abogado

Killer York Regional Police officer Remo Romano has been sentenced to eight months in jail for dangerous driving causing death in the killing of Natasha “Carla” Abogado. The killer cop was granted bail by an appeal court judge the same day. Romano plans to appeal both the sentence and the conviction. Carla Abogado’s family left the appeal court in tears after Romano was granted permission to appeal.

Detective-Constable Romano killed 18-year-old Carla Abogado, striking her with his unmarked police truck at 115 km/h in a 60 km/ zone. She was crossing the street to go home after stepping off a bus at Warden Avenue and St. Clair Avenue East on February 12, 2014.

Romano was speeding to catch up with a police surveillance team after he had lagged behind. The court heard that the team was not in any danger or on an urgent case and the speeding by Romano was in no way necessary or justifiable.

This was the third time Romano has gone to trial for the killing. The first trial resulted in a deadlocked jury and in the second case Romano was found not guilty.

The judge in this third trial, Superior Court judge Brian O’Marra, went soft on Romano in sentencing, taking the perspective of the cop, as the courts often do. Judge O’Marra disagreed with the crown assessment that Romano had not shown remorse for the killing. Incredibly, Judge O’Marra called the crown’s request for a 12 month sentence “excessive.” This may be so only in terms of sentences for cops as the state will generally find ways to protect the state.

Romano is still employed by the York Regional Police and being paid by the public. The killer cop was placed on administrative duties following the criminal charge and the police service have confirmed that Romano will continue in those duties, pending the outcome of the appeal. Romano has taken the copaganda approach followed by many killer cops and their associations, and propped up by servile cop promoting criminologists, of claiming PTSD as a result of his killing someone.

Carla Abogado’s family had previously filed a $2.2-million lawsuit against the York Regional Police Service. That civil case that is still ongoing.


Civil Suit against Killer Cop Michelle Phillips, RCMP, and Federal Government in Killing of Tracy Janvier

Killer cops in Canada rarely face consequences for their actions in Canada. Families of victims are often forced to sue to gain information about the killing of their loved ones or to see police who kill face some process of accountability.

On August 14, 2018, the family of Tracy Janvier (41) launched a civil lawsuit against RCMP Constable Michelle Phillips, the RCMP, and the federal government in the 2016 killing of their loved one. Janvier was run over and killed by Phillips on Alberta Highway 881, about 80 kilometers south of Fort McMurray on August 21, 2016. The suit,  seeking $909,000, claims that Phillips was negligent and speeding, driving recklessly and carelessly when she struck and killed Tracy Janvier. Phillips also struck and injured a 71-year-old man.

Constable Phillips has been charged in the killing. In August 2017 she pleaded not guilty to charges of dangerous driving causing death and dangerous driving causing bodily harm. A preliminary hearing was held in June and a trial has been scheduled for April 2019.


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


Trial Begins for Killer Cop Patrick Ouellet in Death of 5-Year-Old Nicholas Thorne-Belance

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.