Category Archives: Toronto

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.”


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


Man Dies During Arrest by York Regional Police, Vaughan, Ontario (June 8, 2020)

A 35-year-old man has died during arrest by York Regional Police in Vaughan, Ontario (North of Toronto) on June 8, 2020. According to a police media statement, police were called to a home on Jade Crescent at around 11 PM for an alleged “domestic dispute.” The Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the agency that examines cases of police harm in Ontario, reports only that was some unspecified “interaction” between an officer and the man. It has not been said whether or not the officer used a weapon. At some point during the arrest, the SIU report, the victim lost vital signs and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police first claimed that an officer sustained “significant injuries.” That was later changed to describe the injuries as minor.


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


Toronto Police Shoot and Kill 30-Year-Old Man in Jane-Finch (April 30, 2020)

Toronto police officers shot and killed a 30-year-old man outside a Best Western hotel at Finch Avenue West and Norfinch Drive on April 30, 2020. The Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in Ontario, reports that police were called to the area around 12:15 PM regarding reports of a man in a car with a gun and a knife. The SIU claim that police identified a “vehicle of interest” and approached it. At some point, according to the SIU: “There was interaction and the officer discharged his firearm, resulting in the man being struck.”

There is some contradiction in police reporting. Police initially reported that one person was shot and taken to hospital. Yet paramedics have said that they did not transport any person from the scene of the police shooting.

A witness has reported seeing 20 police officers descend on the victim. The witness also says that the officer who approached the victim with gun drawn, and seemed to stand over him with gun pointed, was in plainclothes and that he was not even certain that this man with the gun was a police officer.

The SIU have assigned four investigators and three forensic investigators to examine the case. They have designated one subject officer and three witness officers.


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


Peel Regional Police Shoot and Kill 26-Year-Old Man (April 6, 2020)

Peel Regional Police shot and killed a 26-year-old man in a residence in the Sawston Circle and Edenbrook Hill Drive area, near Boivard Drive and Chinguacousy Drive in Brampton, Ontario (near Toronto) on the evening of April 6, 2020. Early reports suggest police responded to a call at around 5:20 PM. Officers then entered a residence and fired multiple shots, striking a 26-year-old man and killing him on the spot.

This is at least the second person shot and killed by Peel Regional Police in Canada so far this year. The Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in Ontario, is investigating.


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.


Man Dies During Arrest by Toronto Police in Etobicoke (March 21, 2020)

A 33-year-old man died following his arrest by Toronto police in Etobicoke (in the city’s west end) on March 21, 2020. According to the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the agency that examines cases of police harm in Ontario, Toronto police officers responded to an Etobicoke residence, at Burlington Street and Victoria Street, around 12:30 PM to assist Emergency Medical Services. Officers arrested the man, but “soon after, he went vital signs absent,” the SIU reports. He was taken to hospital and was pronounced dead there.

Two SIU investigators and one forensic investigator have been assigned to the case.

It has not been reported publicly why police arrested the man when he needed medical attention.


Man Tased by Police After Setting Self on Fire Dies (Toronto, March 17, 2020)

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in Ontario, is investigating the death of a man who was tased by Toronto police after allegedly setting himself on fire. According to the SIU, Toronto police went to the intersection at Dundas Street East and Church Street at 8:43 AM after reports of a man pouring some type of accelerant on himself and setting himself on fire. The SIU report that police officers attended a nearby convenience store and had “an interaction which included deployment of a conducted energy weapon.” The man was then taken into custody. The victim was transported to St. Michael’s Hospital for treatment and later died there.

The SIU has assigned two investigators and two forensic investigators to examine the circumstances involved in the man’s death.

No other details have been released publicly. It has not been explained why police decided to tase someone who may have needed immediate medical assistance and appeared to have been in distress. This is another example of why police should not be deployed to respond to people in health crisis or distress.