Tag Archives: IIUM

Man Dies after Arrest by Winnipeg Police (June 26, 2019)

The Independent Investigation Unit (IIU), the group that examines cases of police harming civilians in Manitoba, is investigating the death of a man following his arrest by Winnipeg police on June 26, 2019.

It has been reported that Winnipeg police responded to a call about a break-in on Alfred Avenue at about 2:30 AM. The man allegedly fled the residence before supposedly being found in some medical distress on Burrows Avenue. The man was taken to St. Boniface Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.


Man Dies in Winnipeg Police Custody (April 16, 2019)

The Independent Investigative Unit (IIU), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in Manitoba, is investigating the death of a 56-year-old man in custody of Winnipeg police on April 16, 2019. Initial reports suggest that Winnipeg police officers arrested the man a little after 5 PM after responding to a call regarding an assault and disturbance at a home in North Point Douglas.

At the home, police allegedly found an injured man in his 50s and the man was taken to hospital, supposedly in stable condition. Officers also allegedly arrested someone they claim was a suspect near Main Street and Sutherland Avenue. He was taken to the North District station for processing. The arrested man was later found unresponsive in a holding cell and was taken to hospital in critical condition. Police report that he was pronounced dead at the hospital.

No other details have been released publicly, including how or why the man became “unresponsive” or when that was first noticed. None of the information reported by police has been independently confirmed publicly.


No Charges Against Two Winnipeg Cops Investigating Killer Cop Justin Holz, Despite “Improper Conduct”: When Cops Investigate Cops

On December 20, 2017, it was announced that no charges will be brought against two Winnipeg police officers assigned to help investigate the hit-and-run killing of Cody Severight (23) by Winnipeg officer Justin Holz (34) on October 10, 2017. Severight, of the Waywayseecappo First Nation, about 280 kilometers northwest of Winnipeg, was struck by the vehicle driven by Holz while crossing Main Street near Sutherland Avenue around 8 PM. Officer Holz had been out drinking before getting into his vehicle. He has been charged with impaired driving causing death and failing to remain at the scene of an accident.

Two other Winnipeg officers involved in the investigation into Holz’s killing of Severight were placed on administrative leave ten days after the killing.

The Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba (IIU), the agency that investigates cases of police harm to civilians in the province, reported that it had been notified of “irregular and improper conduct of two officers.” The IIU has now concluded that no charges should be laid and reported this in an uninformative media release. IIU director Zane Tessler said in that release: “It’s kind of difficult to discuss the specifics of [my decision] given that everything is intertwined in pending matters that are still before the court.“ Indeed developing excuses for letting cops off the hook can take time and is no doubt “difficult to discuss” in a way that they public would accept.

The Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) may continue its “investigation” into the two officers. Both officers have returned to duty and the WPS says it will not be commenting further. By now we have come to know what to expect when police investigate police.


Winnipeg Killer Cop Justin Holz Charged in Killing Indigenous Youth Cody Severight

Winnipeg police Constable Justin Holz has been charged with impaired driving causing death and failure to remain at the scene after striking and killing pedestrian Cody Severight (23) with his vehicle on the evening of Tuesday, October 10, 2017. According to the Independent Investigations Unit, which is examining the killing, the 34-year-old Holz was located more than seven kilometers away fro the crash scene. Holz is an eight-year member of the Winnipeg police and was assigned as a criminal investigator. He has been placed on administrative leave but is still being paid. Winnipeg police traffic collision investigators assisted the IIU with a breathalyzer but it has not been revealed publicly whether Holz had a blood test to determine alcohol levels.

Holz was apparently working the day shift and would have gotten off work around 4:30 PM. He then allegedly went drinking until the crash at around 8:00 PM. Winnipeg Police Chief Danny Smyth tried to suggest it is not unusual for someone to go for drinks after work. The issue here through is that the cop then apparently decide to get in his vehicle and race home.

Witness Donnie Fizell has reported seeing a car speeding down the street before striking Severight. In his words: “He must have flew 15 feet in the air and his head hit the curb. [Constable Holz] must have been doing 80 [km/h] when he hit that poor boy” (quoted in Bernhardt 2017).

Cody Severight is from the Waywayseecappo First Nation, about 280 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg. He had recently started classes at the Winnipeg Adult Education Centre to obtain his Grade 12. He and his partner were expecting a baby soon (Bernhardt 2017). His grandmother Gloria Lebold describes him: “He was a sweet little guy, always joking around, just being a little fun person” (quoted in Bernhardt 2017).

Severight’s aunt, Nancy Gabriel, spoke honestly about the situation and noted the anti-Indigenous racism that has marked Winnipeg policing. In her view, police are supposed to be protecting people, “not killing people” (quoted in Bernhardt 2017). She continued: “As soon as he struck him he should have stopped straight away, not just keep on driving. You know how that looks, that looks like, ‘Oh that’s just another native.’ He was a good guy” (quoted in Bernhardt 2017).

Cody Severight will be buried next to his mother.

This is the third incident of police harm to civilians that the IIU has had to investigate this week alone in Winnipeg.

 

Further Reading

Bernhardt, Darren. 2017. “Winnipeg Police Officer Charged in Fatal Hit and Run Allegedly Impaired.” CBC News. October 11. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/pedestrian-cody-severight-dies-1.4349125


Woman Killed in Crash during Pursuit by Winnipeg Police

A woman has been killed when the van she was a passenger in collided with a pickup truck and rolled over during pursuit by Winnipeg police on Boyd Avenue near Sinclair Street in the Burrow’s neighborhood. The crash occurred on September 13, 2016. The victim was one of five people, including another woman, two men, one of whom was the driver, and a 17-year-old boy, who were in the silver van that crashed following initiation of police pursuit. The four other occupants of the van are in stable condition in local hospital. The driver of the pickup truck was also in hospital in stable condition.

According to Winnipeg police spokesperson Constable Rob Carver, whose statements have not been independently confirmed: “The incident appears to have started when a general patrol unit in the area observed the vehicle with five individuals in it and decided that there was a reason to initiate a traffic stop. Overhead lights were activated and … the vehicle immediately fled and collided with the half-ton” (quoted in CBC News 2016). Curiously Carver went on to suggest that “[w]hile it is a pursuit by a technical definition, we did not actually apparently pursue the vehicle” (quoted in CBC News 2016). However, a short pursuit is still actually apparently a pursuit nonetheless. And in this case one with fatal consequences. No other details have been released by police or independent witnesses. Police have not revealed why they decided to pursue the vehicle in the first place.

The Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba, which examines all incidents of harm to civilians by on-duty and off-duty officers in Manitoba, is investigating this incident which resulted in the death of the woman passenger. The victim has not yet been named publicly.

 

Further Reading

CBC News. 2016. “Woman Dead after Van Fleeing Officers Crashes, Winnipeg Police Say.” CBC News. September 13. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/boyd-sinclair-crash-winnipeg-1.3760853


“Officers Just Opened Fire and Blew the Heck out of Him”: Police Killing of Mark Dicesare, 24, (Winnipeg, November 6, 2015)

A man, identified as Mark Dicesare (24), shot multiple times by Winnipeg police following pursuit by dozens of police vehicles died of multiple injuries inflicted by police on November 6, 2015. His death was announced on November 7.

Winnipeg police have still released few details of the killing but they have confirmed that firearm discharge occurred, involving their officers. Witnesses, including at least one news reporter, have stated that multiple officers opened fire on the man simultaneously during a brief standoff in a field in the city near Lipsett Hall at the former Kapyong Barracks military site.

Several police vehicles had pursued the man to the field after he was reportedly see driving erratically. Witnesses reported around 30 police vehicles involved in the standoff. The shooting occurred about 45 minutes after police first became involved and during a 20 minute standoff.

Local radio station CJOB recorded the observation of one witness identified as Brian who saw police open fire on the man: “The driver … came out, had his hands in his coat breast pocket, took his hand outside of his jacket, and at least ten to twelve officers just opened fire and blew the heck out of him” (CP 2015).

CBC Winnipeg recorded a lengthy witness account of the killing:

“A white man with black hair, black jacket got out [and] started walking around his vehicle very nervously, had his hand in his jacket pocket, inside his jacket, started to pull his hand out of his jacket. And I’d have to say 10 to 12 police officers just rapid-fire opened up, and that was it. It was just, ‘Bang, bang, bang’ all at the same time. It’s just like a movie; it’s just unbelievable. Like, it just wasn’t one shot. It sounded [like] at least 10, all at the same time.” (CBC 2015)

The Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba, which investigates all serious incidents involving police, is investigating the killing. The IIU began operations only a few months ago and has yet to provide a report on any of the numerous police involved shootings in Manitoba.

Further Reading

CBC. 2015. “Man Shot by Police near Kenaston Boulevard Dies in Hospital: Reports.” Nov. 7. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/man-shot-by-police-near-kenaston-boulevard-dies-in-hospital-reports-1.3307891

CP. 2015. “Man Shot by Winnipeg Police after Lengthy Chase and Standoff Dies.” The Brandon Sun. Nov. 6. http://www.brandonsun.com/national/breaking-news/man-in-hospital-after-shot-by-winnipeg-police-officer-342022601.html


Haki Sefa (44) Killed during Interaction with Police (Winnipeg, Sept. 20, 2015)

A 44 year old man, later identified as Haki Sefa, was shot dead by Winnipeg police late Sunday night, September 20, 2015. Sefa, a father of four who worked as a plumber, died from wounds received during an interaction with police on Highway 59 near Kirkness Road north of Winnipeg. He had been followed by police after a call was put in by a family member concerned about his well being.

Early reports suggested that Sefa had become depressed, perhaps suicidal, following the death of his niece Breanna Kannick, whom he helped raise, last month. Sadly the young woman was herself a victim of police intervention, having died in a Regina jail cell from apparent drug withdrawal under troubling circumstances about which there have been many questions raised but not yet answered.

Police following Sefa trapped his vehicle between two police vehicles before the shooting started. Witnesses reported hearing several shots (four or five) fired at the time Sefa was killed. Around 12 officers were involved in the shooting.

The Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba (IIUM) is investigating. The IIU was formed to investigate cases in which civilians are hurt or killed by police officers and was only officially instituted in June. This will be its first case. Other such units in Ontario and British Columbia have experienced interference and obstruction from officers.