Category Archives: Killings by Cops

Man Pepper Sprayed, Dies During Arrest by Sherbrooke Police (July 25, 2020)

A 33-year-old man has died after being pepper sprayed and arrested by Sherbrooke police early in the morning of July 25, 2020.

Quebec’s police watchdog, the Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes (BEI), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in the province, is investigating the death. They report that police were responding to a call about an altercation in front of a business at around 10:15 AM.

The BEI claim that when police arrived one of the two men in the alleged altercation ran away. They report that an officer chased down that man and pepper-sprayed him. During arrest the man lost consciousness. He was taken to hospital and died there a few hours later.

The BEI has assigned eight investigators to the case. The BEI is not independent and relies on other police forces to carry out investigations, In this case, they are relying on the Quebec provincial police (SQ), to provide a forensics specialist.


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.”


Ontario Provincial Police Shoot and Kill 73-Year-Old Man (July 15, 2020)

Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officers shot and killed a 73-year-old man outside a residence north of Haliburton. The Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in the province, is investigating. According to the SIU, police allege that the man assaulted people at a grocery store in Minden (several kilometers away). No further details about the alleged assault(s) have been released at this time.

The SIU report that the OPP were called to the Valu-mart grocery store on Highway 35 in Minden at around 9:30 AM. A man left the grocery store and drove away in a vehicle. Police claim an officer observed this and after a run of the vehicle’s licence plate, went directly to the associated residence.

Outside the residence police shot and killed the man. He was pronounced dead at hospital around noon.

The SIU has assigned four investigators and two forensic investigators to examine the case.


Victim of Hamilton Police Killing Identified as Jason Peterson

The man shot by Hamilton police on July 7, 2020, has been identified as Jason Peterson (42). Mr. Peterson died on July 8.

Video from the scene shows that the time between Jason Peterson leaving Corner’s Variety and being shot by police was less than 40 seconds.


Hamilton Police Shoot and Kill 42-Year-Old Man (July 7-8, 2020)

A 42-year-old man shot by Hamilton police on July 7, died in hospital on July 8, 2020. The Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in Ontario, is investigating. The SIU reports that Hamilton police claim the man was sitting in a vehicle when officers approached him with two officers firing their weapons. These officers are the focus of the SIU investigation along with four witness officers. It is also reported that several civilian witnesses have been interviewed. Video footage has allegedly been secured as well.

A second person received what have been called minor injuries. No details on the nature of those injuries have been released at this time.


Halifax District RCMP Shoot and Kill 60-Year-Old Man (July 9, 2020)

Halifax District RCMP shot and killed a 60-year-old man in Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia, on the evening of July 9, 2020. Nova Scotia’s Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in the province, is investigating. Few details have been released so far. It has been reported that police were called to a home in Eastern Passage over a report of an armed man uttering threats. On arrival they found the 60-year-old man outside of a home. Police claim he was armed with a weapon and did not respond to their directions. At some point they discharged their firearms striking and killing the man. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.


Sûreté du Québec (SQ) Shoot and Kill 53-Year-Old Man in Lavaltrie (June 22, 2020)

Quebec’s provincial police force (Sûreté du Québec, SQ) shot and killed a 53-year-old man in Lavaltrie, Quebec (Lanaudière region), on June 22, 2020. The Bureau des enquetes independantes (Bureau of Independent Investigations, BEI), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in the province, is investigating the killing.

The BEI report that provincial police were called to a home in Lavaltrie around 8:20 PM in response to an alleged domestic dispute between a man and a woman. Police removed the man from the home but escorted him back inside to retrieve his wallet and some belongings. According to the BEI, police claim that once inside the man took a knife and injured himself. In response, as is far too typical, an SQ officer shot him and killed him.

Once again, when faced with someone apparently in distress and believed to pose a harm to themselves, police take action to do worse harm to the person. They act hastily to kill them.

In the last two weeks alone, the BEI has opened six investigations into police violence, including the RCMP killing of Rodney Levi, a Metepenagiag First Nation man, in New Brunswick.

The BEI is not an independent investigative agency. They rely on other police forces to do their investigations. The Montreal police service will be taking part in the investigation of this killing. The very force that killed a 51-year-old man two days before.


Man Dies After Being Pepper Sprayed and Subdued by Montreal Police (June 20, 2020)

A 51-year-old man died after being pepper sprayed and subdued by Montreal police late Saturday night. According to the Bureau des enquetes independantes (Bureau of Independent Investigations, BEI), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians, Montreal police responded at around 10:40 PM to calls about a domestic dispute at a hotel on Sherbrooke Street. According to the BEI, the man ran once police arrived and officers chased him for about 300 meters.

Police allegedly caught up to him near the corner of Ontario and Saint-Timothée streets, where they pepper sprayed, subdued, and handcuffed him. During the takedown and arrest, the man lost consciousness and did not have a pulse. He was taken to hospital and pronounced dead there.

The BEI has initially assigned six investigators to the killing. They are also using a forensic expert with the provincial police force (SQ) to assist with the investigation. It is thus not an independent investigation, and police are involved in investigating police.


Peel Police Kill Ejaz Ahmed Choudry (62) in Mississauga (June 20, 2020)

Peel Region police shot and killed 62-year-old Ejaz Ahmed Choudry on Saturday, June 20, 2020. He was reportedly shot five times in the back. Mr. Choudry, a Muslim man, was experiencing mental health crisis and needed support and care, not police primed to shoot to kill. He was a husband and father of four, the youngest of whom is only seven.

According to the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in Ontario, reports that police were called to an apartment unit at 3425 Morning Star Drive, near Goreway Drive, at around 5 PM, to “check on the well-being of a man.” Family members have since said that Mr. Choudry suffered from schizophrenia as well as other illnesses. He was alone in the unit and did not pose a threat to the public or others. Family members have described him as harmless.

For an older man in crisis alone in his room, posing no threat to others, police sent multiple officers and a canine unit. A video taken by a witness and posted on twitter, shows police tactical units putting climbing a ladder and breaking into Mr. Choudry’s second floor apartment from the balcony. Three officers are shown kicking open the door and shouting into the residence. One can imagine the awful impact this might have on someone said to be in crisis. Several gunshots can be heard before all three officers even enter the apartment, again raising issues of the shoot first approach by police officers. This is one reason that they should not be sent out on mental health related calls.

Incredibly, police have sought to explain killing Mr. Choudry by suggesting they were concerned about his safety. Peel Constable Sarah Patten claims: “The state of crisis that he was in and the belief that he had access to weapons, yes, we believe that he was a danger to himself” (quoted in CBC News 2020). Patten makes the absurd statement that officers broke into his apartment “to check on his well-being” (quoted in CBC News 2020).

According to the SIU, police claim that once police entered the apartment unit, “an interaction occurred which included officers deploying a conducted energy weapon at the man, as well as firing plastic projectiles from an Anti-Riot Weapon Enfield” (quoted in CBC News 2020). Again, we must ask why police were doing a supposed wellness check with anti-riot weapons?

The mentality of police is reflected in this statement by Peel Regional Police Constable Akhil Mooken, who said, tellingly: “Communication was initiated with the man to try to communicate a peaceful surrender” (quoted in Yuen 2020). Surrender. This is the language of war. For someone needing health care supports.
Family Members Not Allowed to Help

Family members who were present say that Mr. Choudry had come to the door when other families had been removed from the unit but was frightened back in when he saw officers coming toward him. An entirely understandable response to seeing police coming at you.

Khizar Shahzad, a nephew, reports that he informed the supervising officer of the severity of his uncle’s condition and told the officer the man was frightened: “I said, ‘Hey, he’s scared of your uniform, he’s not scared of you’” (quoted in CBC News 2020). The family pleaded with police to allow them to speak with their loved one who did not speak English. Police refusal to allow this is common in cases where police have been called about someone in mental health distress. Family who know the person and how best to interact with them are removed and kept from participating. This often plays a part in deadly police actions.

Muhammed Choudry, also a nephew, implored police: “Let me go upstairs, let my dad go upstairs, let my brother go upstairs. Because we’ve done this before where he listens. He listens to us” (quoted in CBC News 2020).

Family members say Mr. Choudry had difficulty breathing and walking. Mr. Choudry died at the scene.

 

Demands for Review and Inquiry

The Muslim Council of Peel has called for an immediate review of police use of force, particularly during mental-health calls. They also want publicly available race-based demographic data on police shootings. As they note in a media release:

“A disproportionate number of racialized individuals including Black, Indigenous and Muslim are the victims of police shootings across Canada and right here in Peel Region” (quoted in CBC News 2020).

The council and family are demanding an independent public inquiry into the police killing of Ejaz Choudry. In their words:

“Given the video evidence and the testimony of family members, Peel police’s conduct in this matter was clearly excessive and requires nothing short of an independent inquiry unconnected to the SIU” (quoted in CBC News 2020).

Police are heard in the video shouting at Mr. Choudry to put a gun down. No gun was retrieved at the scene.

The SIU has assigned six investigators and three forensic investigators to examine the police killing of Ejaz Choudry.

 

Further Reading

CBC News. 2020. “Family Identifies Man, 62, who was Shot and Killed by Police in Mississauga as SIU Investigates.” CBC News June 21. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/siu-police-shooting-mississauga-1.5621243

Yuen, Jenny. 2020. “Family Demands Inquiry into Shooting of Mentally Ill Man.” Toronto Sun June 21. https://torontosun.com/news/local-news/siu-to-investigate-fatal-police-shooting-in-mississauga


RCMP Shoot and Kill Rodney Levi, a Mi’kmaq Man, Metepenagiag First Nation (June 12, 2020)

People in the community report that New Brunswick RCMP have shot and killed Rodney Levi, a Mi’kmaq man, in Metepenagiag First Nation (also known as Red Bank First Nation) on June 12, 2020. There are few details reported publicly at this time. This is the second killing of an Indigenous person in New Brunswick in eight days, following the Edmunston police killings of Chantel Moore, a 26-year-old Indigenous woman of Tlaoquiaht First Nation on June 4.