Tag Archives: criminology

Man Tased, Dies in Calgary Police Custody (May 1, 2019)

A man who died in Calgary police custody on the morning of May 1 had been tased while police officers arrested him. Police had engaged in a struggle with the man. It is reported that a canine unit was present during the arrest.

Deputy Chief Ryan Ayliffe said that the victim, reported to be a man in his 40s, was rushed to hospital in life-threatening condition.

Police were allegedly responding to a “targeted hit and run.”

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in Alberta, is investigating the circumstances surrounding the man’s death, including the cause of death and what happened during the struggle. It has been reported that six officers, five from patrol and one from the canine unit, are currently being interviewed by ASIRT. The officers involved have been given a 30-day administrative leave.

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Man Arrested Following Business Complaint Dies in RCMP Custody in Kamloops (March 13, 2019)

A man who was arrested by RCMP in Kamloops, British Columbia, allegedly following a complaint from a business has died while in custody on March 13, 2019. Police reportedly arrested the man under the Liquor Control and Licensing Act at around 9;30 PM on the evening of March 12. The man was allegedly found unresponsive in his cell before 6 AM on March 13 and pronounced dead.

The Independent Investigations Office, the agency that examines cases of police violence in British Columbia, is investigating the death. No other details have been released publicly.


Manitoba First Nations Police Kill Benjamin Richard (23) on Long Plain First Nation (April 2, 2019)

Manitoba First Nations Police shot and killed 23-year-old Benjamin Richard on Long Plain First Nation on the evening of April 2, 2019. The victim’s identity was confirmed publicly by his sister Patricia Richard. She reports that she called police after speaking with her mother because she believed her brother to be ‘freaking out’ and shooting out of the house where her mother lives.

Patricia Richard had hoped police would protect her brother, not shoot him. She is upset at how police handled the situation, believing it could have and should have ended differently.

She has since said that her mother told her: “They went rushing in there. Everything happened too quick. She said they didn’t have to [shoot him]. He wasn’t threatening anyone, he just snapped on himself” (quoted in CBC News 2019)

The victim’s niece, Tammy Smith, said she was outside the house in a pickup truck with Richard’s mother when three officers spotted Richard through a window and started shooting at him. She describes a chaotic, reckless, rush to lethal force. In her words: “I was backing up to see if I could see Ben, when all the shots came from the (police). I’m pretty sure they all unloaded their clips. We just started screaming” (quoted in Rollason 2019).

She echoed the family’s feelings of anger over how the situation was handled: “It should not have escalated to that point. They should have waited for more people. They should have tried to wait it out. They were all outside, shooting through the walls and windows. They never even entered the house…” (quoted in Rollason 2019)

Witnesses suggest that the victim was only firing his weapon into an empty field and the ceiling of the house. They say he posed no threat to anyone, but was simply upset. She relates: “His mother, last week, called the [police] to take him to the hospital so he could be assessed. But when they came and talked to him, they said he wasn’t a threat to anyone. Then a week later, they come back and shoot him” (quoted in Rollason 2019).

Patricia Richard has said that in her view the officers were “trigger-happy.” She suggests: “They knew my brother needed help a few days before anything happened. He was unstable. Everyone saw the signs” (quoted in Rollason 2019).

And she concludes: “I believe what happened could have been 100 per cent preventable” (quoted in Rollason 2019).

Smith remembers Benjamin Richard in these terms: “He was kind, caring and always thinking of others more than himself. The world lost a great man. My heart breaks” (quoted in Macdonnell 2019).

According to the Independent Investigation Unit (IIU), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in Manitoba, it was notified by Manitoba First Nations Police that officers had responded to a report of a man armed with a firearm in a residence at around 6 PM. During an encounter at least one office fired a weapon, striking the man. The victim, Benjamin Richard was pronounced dead on the scene. Three officers involved in the case are now on administrative leave.

 

Further Reading

CBC News. 2019. “Man Shot Dead by First Nations Police Force in Manitoba, Family Says.” CBC News April 3. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/manitoba-first-nations-police-long-plain-1.5082537

Macdonnell, Beth. 2019. “Man Dead after Officer-Involved Shooting on Long Plain First Nation.” CTV News April 3. https://winnipeg.ctvnews.ca/man-dead-after-officer-involved-shooting-on-long-plain-first-nation-1.4363800

Rollason, Kevin. 2019. “Officers Called ‘Trigger-Happy.’” Winnipeg Free Press April 4. https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/officers-called-trigger-happy-508094702.html


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.


Ottawa Police Shoot and Kill 30-Year-Old-Man at Elmvale Mall (Jan. 31, 2019)

Ottawa police shot and killed a 30-year-old man early in the morning of January 31, 2019. According to the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the unit that examines cases of police harm to civilians in Ontario, police were called to the area of the Elmvale Mall on St. Laurent Blvd at around 7:53 AM. The reason for the call was allegedly a report of “a suspicious person.” At the time of this initial report, no details have been released publicly on what made the person suspicious. At around 8:00 AM shots were fired, and the victim was killed. The SIU has confirmed that a police officer shot the victim.


Man Falls to Death During Police Encounter in St. Catharines, Ontario (Jan. 19, 2019)

A man fell from a bridge to his death during a police encounter in St. Catharines, Ontario early in the day on January 19, 2019. The Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in Ontario, is investigating the death. According to the SIU Niagara Regional Police were called to a location just south of the city’s downtown. The SIU say that a man was sitting on the Burgoyne Bridge on St. Paul Street West, overlooking Highway 406. They report that some time after police officers arrived, the man went over the edge and landed on the highway below. He was pronounced dead on the scene.

No further details have been provided publicly, including the reason police were called in the first place or why they decided to confront someone sitting on a bridge.

The SIU has assigned five investigators to the case, including one forensic specialist. A post-mortem has been scheduled for Monday, January 21.


Two Dead in Crash During Attempted Police Stop, Nanaimo (Jan. 14, 2019)

Two people are dead in a crash following an attempted vehicular stop by Nanaimo RCMP. The crash occurred on the Trans-Canada Highway near Duke Point on the morning of January 14, 2019. The Nanaimo RCMP officer tried to pull over a white pickup which then crashed into a red SUV. According to the Independent Investigations Office (IIO), the agency that examines cases of police harm in British Columbia, the RCMP turned on the marked patrol car’s lights and sirens in an attempt to pull over the truck at around 12:40 AM.

The BC Coroners Service has confirmed that two people are dead as a result of the crash. Their identities have not been released. It has been reported publicly that the two people killed were the lone male drivers of each vehicle. It has also been reported that the driver of the red SUV was in his fifties.

According to Ron MacDonald of the IIO, the investigation will attempt to address several questions:

“That will include, were lights and sirens engaged? How long were they engaged for if they were? [What were the] speeds involved, distance and time involved? Was the attempt to stop the vehicle terminated at some point? If so, when did that occur in relation to the collision?” (quoted in DeRosa 2019)

MacDonald has also said that it is too early to say with certainty where the officer tried to pull over the truck. According to MacDonald: “How far apart the officer was from the vehicle at the time of the collision is, of course, an important factor for us to consider” (DeRosa 2019).

Police officers are not compelled to provide statements to the IIO. This has been an issue in previous IIO investigations and led the agency to sue the Vancouver Police Department to gain some cooperation in an investigation.

MacDonald has already said that gaining crucial information in this case is “going to be difficult without witness testimony” (DeRosa 2019). No details have been provided regarding why the officer targeted the white truck or why there was an attempt to pull it over.

Further Reading
DeRosa, Katie. 2019. “Police Watchdog Probes Head-On Crash that Killed Two Near Duke Point.” Times Colonist January 14. https://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/police-watchdog-probes-head-on-crash-that-killed-two-near-duke-point-1.23598207