A judge in London, Ontario, has found Constable Nicholas Doering guilty in the death of 39-year-old Debra Chrisjohn, an Indigenous woman, the mother of 11 children, who died shortly after being arrested. Chrisjohn, of Oneida of the Thames First Nation, was arrested on September 7, 2016, after police were to Trafalgar Street and Highbury Avenue North, an intersection in London’s east end, regarding a woman allegedly obstructing traffic.
Chrisjohn was arrested by London police and then transferred to the Elgin County OPP detachment. Paramedics later took her to St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital at 7:52 PM. She was pronounced dead almost one hour later.
Constable Nicholas Doering was charged with criminal negligence causing death and failing to provide the necessaries of life. Ontario Provincial Police Const. Mark McKillop had also been charged but his charge was later dropped.
The conviction of a police officer in the death of a civilian remains rare in Canada. Yet it is worth noting that this conviction comes only a day after killer cop Justin Holz was sentenced to 30 days in jail after pleading guilty to dangerous driving causing death for killing Cody Severight, a 23-year-old Indigenous man in 2017.
Killer Winnipeg cop Justin Holz, 36, pleaded guilty on October 30, 2019, to dangerous driving causing death for the collision that killed 23-year-old Cody Severight in 2017. Holz hit Severight and left the young Indigenous man to die in the road. A Manitoba provincial court judge agreed to a joint recommendation by lawyers and sentenced Holz to 30 months in prison. A rare case of a killer cop being charged, and an even more rare outcome that would see a killer cop do time in prison.
The court heard that Holz met other police officers for drinks at a bar starting before 5 PM on the evening of October 10, 2017. He drove off from a nearby car park around three hours later. Investigators calculated Holz was driving at up to 92 km/h in a 50 km/h zone. He hit Severight, who was crossing the street with another person, while going at least 76 km/h. According to the Court, Severight was launched across the road, his skull fractured and his neck broken in the collision.
Despite clearly striking someone, Holz did not stop or attempt to help the victim. Instead he continued to drive on, even increasing his speed up to 129 km/h. Almost 12 minutes after striking Severight, Holz parked and called police, saying he had hit someone. A breathalyzer test was done on Holz more than an hour after he struck Severight. The conduct of two other officers in delaying the breathalyzer was questioned but no disciplinary actions taken against them.
Severight was later taken to hospital but died of his injuries.
Holz had originally faced other offences, including impaired driving. Those charges were following the guilty plea.
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.
The Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in Ontario, is looking into the death of a 29-year-old man at the Elgin Middlesex Detention Centre (EMDC) on December 27, 2018. The SIU reports that the victim was arrested by London police on December 26 at 3 PM. They claim that the as-of-yet unnamed man was transported to the police station and placed in a cell to await a bail hearing.
According to the SIU, the following morning he was transported to court for his hearing and then transferred to the Elgin Middlesex Detention Centre. They report that shortly after his arrival at the EMDC, he collapsed. He was taken to the London Health Science Centre and pronounced dead at 8:59 PM.
The SIU has assigned two investigators to examine the circumstances surrounding this death.
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 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.
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.