Tag Archives: Ontario

Ontario Provincial Police Kill 48-Year-Old “Man in Distress” in Tecumseh (June 14, 2019)

Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) shot and killed a 48-year-old man in Tecumseh, Ontario, near Windsor, on the evening of June 14, 2019. According to the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in the province, police entered a home at 605 Estate Park at around 10:15 PM. The SIU reports police were responding to calls of a “man in distress.” While interacting with the man a police officer shot discharged a firearm, striking and killing the man.

The SIU has assigned five investigators, including two forensic specialists, to the case. A post-mortem has been scheduled in London, Ontario.

Police in Canada kill numerous people experiencing mental distress each year.

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Killer Ottawa Cops Identified as Thanh Tran and Daniel Vincelette: Shot Greg Ritchie of Saugeen First Nation

Greg Ritchie, a 30-year-old Ojibwe man from Saugeen First Nation near Owen Sound, Ontario, has been identified as the man shot and killed by Ottawa police on January 31. Family members have spoken publicly to say he was experiencing mental health crises and was heading to a pharmacy to pick up medication when he was shot and killed by police. The responding officers have been identified as Ottawa constables Thanh Tran and Daniel Vincelette. Witnesses have reported hearing more than two shots. Tran is a repeat offender. He and another officer had been charged, in September 2011, with assault causing bodily harm following the arrest of an intoxicated 50-year-old homeless man.

Family members say Ritchie, who had been taken from his mother and placed in foster care, had struggled with mental health issues from a young age. He had moved to Ottawa to live with his brother and his partner. Ritchie’s sister-in-law reports that he was in good spirits the morning he was killed, having received his Ontario Disability Support Program payment and going out for a coffee. He then set out to get his medication, suffering a headache and recovering from a concussion. He had been a customer at the pharmacy at Elmvale Acres Mall since arriving in Ottawa.

Police allegedly received a call about a “suspicious incident.” This is a painfully poignant description given that Ritchie’s family says he had an ongoing fear that people viewed him suspiciously because of the way he looked and because of his Indigenous identity.

In the words of his sister-in-law, Chantel Ritchie:

“And the thing is, that’s not the kind of guy he is. He gets scared…and that’s the saddest part. We know that he was in complete and utter terror in a moment like that. He’s scared of just going into a grocery store…of just being in a crowd, because he’s afraid that people want to do something to him or don’t like him because of the way he looks.

“And honestly, we’ve seen it. People just take one look and that’s it. He’s First Nations, he’s been homeless before, and he is afraid. People just take all of that in one look and then make assumptions and then act on it. And it just really hurts that we weren’t there to be able to calm him down because there’s no way that any of this would have happened if we were there. There’s no way.” (quoted in CBC News 2019)

Chantal Ritchie says Greg Ritchie felt better around family and was very involved in learning about his culture. She worries that cultural materials he carried with him might have been misinterpreted as weapons by the police who killed him. In her words:

“I could tell right away he suffered from mental illness, but when he was around family he was very happy. He was very into his culture and learning about his ancestors. He did sometimes exhibit that he feels the pain of what happened to his people…but he was just happy to be around family and to be at powwows and helping at those events.

“He was sometimes hired to keep sacred fires going at ceremonies, and spent time in woods and rivers looking for arrowheads. It also comforted him to recreate arrowheads and other artifacts.

“Those things he keeps on his person because it makes him feel safe. We always tell him, don’t bring it with you anywhere, because we were afraid of this very thing happening.” (quoted in CBC News 2019)

One witness, Shireen Moodley, reports hearing multiple rapid-fire gunshots

 

Further Reading

CBC News. 2019. “Greg Ritchie ID’d as Man Shot and KIlled by Police at Mall.” CBC News. February 1. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/ottawa-fatal-police-shooting-family-1.5000285


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.


Twenty-Nine-Year-Old Man Dies in Custody of London Police at Elgin Middlesex Detention Centre (Dec. 27, 2018)

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.


Fifty-Five-Year-Old Man Dies in London Police Custody (Oct. 11, 2018)

A 55-year-old man died while in custody of London police on October 11, 2018. According to the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in Ontario, police report that they responded to calls about an allegedly impaired driver near Wonderland Road South and Exeter Road at about 9:20 PM. Police claim that they located a vehicle in the ditch south of Harry White Drive and Wonderland.

Police arrested the apparent driver of that vehicle who was put into a cruiser to be transported to the cells at London police headquarters. Police claim that at some point, while still held in the cruiser in the cell bay area of police headquarters, the man became unresponsive and had no vital signs.

According to the SIU, the man was taken to hospital and pronounced dead at 11:58 PM. The SIU has assigned three investigators and one forensic investigator to examine the death.

SIU records show that the London Police Service has been the subject of 14 Special Investigations Unit probes so far in 2018 alone.


Hamilton Police Shoot and Kill 30-Year-Old Woman (Oct. 20, 2018)

Police in Hamilton, Ontario shot and killed a 30-year-old woman early in the morning of Saturday, October 20, 2018.

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in Ontario, reports that police received a 911 call at around 1 AM Saturday morning. According to the SIU, officers entered a residence above a shop and one officer tased the women before a second officer shot and killed her. The woman was pronounced dead at 2:04 AM.

Six SIU investigators and three forensics investigators have been assigned to this killing. One officer is the subject of the SIU investigation and there are also two witness officers.

The SIU is still working on an investigation into the police killing of Quinn MacDougall, a nineteen-year-old who was shot by Hamilton police in April. The victim had reportedly called police over fears regarding a social media threat. The investigation into MacDougall’s killing ahs already exceeded the 120 timeline for SIU investigations recommended by a recent review of the service.