Tag Archives: taser

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.

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Woman Tased by Victoria Police, Dies (Sept. 29, 2018)

The Independent Investigations Office (IIO), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in British Columbia, is investigating the death of a woman who was tased by an officer or officers of the Victoria Police Department  on September 29, 2018. The IIO reports that at 2:17 AM officers attended the area of Songhees in Victoria in response to reports of a disturbance. At about 2:28 AM police located a female near the water and deployed a conducted energy weapon (CEW). Emergency Health Services (EHS) attended and the woman was transported to hospital with serious injuries. She later died there.

Police claim they were trying to prevent self harm. Tasing is itself, of course, a form of harm. No other details have been released publicly. The claims presented by police via the IIO have not been independently confirmed publicly.


Barrie Police Tase, Kill Olando Brown (32) (June 22, 2018) (Black Lives Matter)

Black lives matter. In Canada as in the United States Black people are disproportionately killed by police, though less attention is given to lethal police violence in Canada compared with the US. On June 22, 2018, Olando Brown, a thirty-two-year-old Black man, a father with an 11-year-old daughter, died during an arrest by police in the town of Barrie, Ontario.

The arrest took place around 2:30 PM near the Tim Hortons donut shop at the Five Points hotel in downtown Barrie. According to witnesses Brown was tased multiple times by Barrie police officers. Questions are being asked why he was not given immediate medical attention rather than being processed by Barrie police. Brown went into medical distress while being booked by police at the police station. He was pronounced dead at hospital. The Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the agency that investigates cases of police harm to civilians in Ontario, is examining Brown’s killing.

The violence inflicted by police against Black people in Canada has long been disproportionate. The killing of Olando Brown, a Black man, must be placed within this context. Olando Brown’s aunt, Barbara South, says her nephew was known as someone who would always lend a helping hand and suggests that he would have never died in custody if he was white. She is very clear in her assessment of what police did to Olando Brown:  “My nephew was murdered. There’s no doubt about that” (quoted in CTV 2018).

A cellphone video taken by a witness shows officers physically confronting Brown and using tasers to take him down. The person holding the camera says Brown was trying to lay down and had already been hit with a taser. Brown is seen getting off the ground, where he appears to be punched and hit with a taser again. Witness Lance Freeman reports: “They asked him to see his ID and before he even had a chance to pull his ID out, the one guy just kicked him, (and) the other guy just starting Tasing him,” said Lance Freeman, who witnessed the arrest” (quoted in CTV 2018).

A man, who identifies himself only as a longtime friend of Olando Brown is among those asking questions about police actions. In his words:

 

“I knew him personally and he was a very kind person, like he would give the shirt off his back. It’s an unfortunate situation and he didn’t deserve it. To be honest with you, I don’t know the incident. All I know is apparently the cops came down on him when he was over there (behind the bushes behind Tim Hortons) and that’s the story. From that it was just Taser after Taser after Taser. I kind of had faith in the police here because this was supposed to only happen in America, not here. It shouldn’t happen anywhere, but you only see things like that on the U.S. news, but here especially in small-town, nice Canada, it’s not right.” (quoted in Gibson 2018)

 

Brown’s friend asks why medical attention was not given following the multiple deployments of taser:  “What is the protocol when you Taser someone and especially after that many? Why wasn’t he just taken to hospital for a check-up? He would have been in handcuffs, he wasn’t going anywhere and the police could have seen if he was OK and then processed him” (quoted in Gibson 2018).

He also noted the over-policing of people in that area of Barrie. There is no way for people to trust police given their actions he concludes. In his words: “But, now how we are supposed to feel when the cops come around and try to talk to us, how we supposed to trust them? It’s unfortunate all around because a man died who didn’t deserve it and now people may start to feel uneasy” (quoted in Gibson 2018).

The reason for the arrest has not been disclosed by Barrie police and has not been confirmed publicly.

 

The Video (Warning: Disturbing Content)

 

Further Reading

CTV. 2018. “Ontario Police Watchdog Investigating After Man Dies in Custody.” CTV News June 25. https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/watchdog-investigating-after-man-dies-in-custody-1.3987769

Gibson, Shawn. 2018. “Friends of Man Who Died After Being Tasered on Friday Shocked, Upset.” Barrie Today June 24. https://www.barrietoday.com/police-beat/friends-of-man-who-died-after-being-tasered-on-friday-shocked-upset-964787


Man Dies After Being Tased by RCMP in Chilliwack, BC (Feb. 24, 2018)

The Independent Investigations Office (IIO) is investigating the death of a man in Chilliwack after he was shot by a taser by RCMP on the afternoon of Saturday, February 24, 2018. According to the IIO the RCMP were responding to reports of a parental abduction. According to the IIO, RCMP say that a stun gun was deployed during an “interaction” with the man who then went into “medical distress.” The IIO says emergency medical services were called to the scene, but the man did not survive. No further details have been provided and there has been no independent confirmation publicly of RCMP claims.


SIU Lets Off OPP Cop Who Killed 45-Year-Old Man in Nipigon in 2016

On January 11, 2018, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in Ontario, released the decision of its investigation into the fatal police shooting of a 45-year-old Nipigon man by a Ontario Provincial Police officer in November of 2016. The SIU has concluded that no charges be laid. This is the too typical outcome of SIU investigations.

According to the SIU report, police were called to a Nipigon residence at around 6:59 PM on November 26, 2016. They report that a woman wanted a man removed from her home as he had allegedly been drinking and was being verbally aggressive with neighbors.

Two OPP officers attended the residence and met the woman on the street. The SIU reports that police claim that when they arrived on the front lawn of the Nipigon home, the 45-year-old man allegedly came out of the house holding a kitchen knife in his right hand down by his side (not in a threatening manner). An OPP officer took the decision to deploy a taser on the man.

Once the man was tasered, officers allege he “winced in pain and stepped back into the house” before stepping outside again. This time it is claimed that the man held the knife pointed forward but parallel to the ground. An OPP officer then shot and killed the man.

According to the SIU, officers called Emergency Medical Services at about 7:17 PM. EMS officials recorded that the victim had no heart beat or heart activity during his transport to the hospital. He was pronounced dead soon after. The SIU report listed the cause of death as a single gunshot wound to the abdomen.


Toronto Police Report Claims None Died from Tasers in 2016, Despite Killing of Rui Nabico

A 2017 Toronto police report on Taser use in 2016 claims that no one died from Tasers in 2016 despite the fact that the Special Investigations Unit, the agency that examines police harm to civilians, is still investigating the death of 31-year-old Rui Nabico. On November 4, 2016, Nabico went into medical distress after Toronto police fired a stun gun at him. He was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead. The young man only went into medical distress after being Tasered so the Toronto police report is clearly false. A piece of copaganda.


Inquest into Police Killing of Craig McDougall Sees No Racism Despite Mistreatment of Family, Eight Year Delay

Racism and policing have gone hand and hand in the Canadian context. From the settler colonial violence of the RCMP through contemporary practices from carding to assaults upon racialized people and communities. The settler colonial character of the Canadian state continues in the current context in the disproportionate arrest and incarceration of Indigenous people and the exertion of violence, often lethal violence, against them.

Not surprisingly the Canadian state and the various institutions of criminal justice have stridently denied claims of racism. Inquiries into police violence typically offer findings that diminish or deny the part of racism in police actions. Such an outcome was delivered again on May 12, 2017 with the results of the inquiry into the killing of Craig McDougall, a young Indigenous man, by Winnipeg police, a force with a long and notorious history of racist violence.

Twenty-six-year-old Craig Vincent McDougall was shot and killed by police outside his father’s home on Simcoe Street in Winnipeg on August 2, 2008. Police claimed to be responding to a 911 call when they arrived at the home in the early hours of August 2.  They suggest that found McDougall outside the house holding a cell phone and a knife. One officer shot him with a taser. He was then shot with a firearm which killed him. A private investigator who examined the case has cast doubt on the assertion that Craig McDougall held a knife at the moment he was shot.

Incredibly, the victim’s family members were immediately arrested and put in handcuffs on the front lawn, an act of what criminologists term the dramatization of evil, designed to denigrate and humiliate people targeted by the system. Jonathan Rudin, an expert witness on Indigenous people, policing, and the criminal justice system, testified that the treatment of McDougall’s family after the young man was shot exemplified systemic racism as the victims were assumed by police to be criminals and were treated as such.

Still, despite the actions of police, the inquest concluded that there was no evidence of racism in the police actions. It offered the typical statist finding that police were justified in their actions. In the inquest report, Associate Chief Judge Anne Krahn wrote there was “no evidence of racism direct or systemic in the moments leading to the shooting of Craig McDougall.” The judge found the arrest of McDougall’s father and uncle to be a simple misstep. In her words: “there were missteps in the immediate aftermath of the shooting when Craig McDougall’s uncle and father were left handcuffed and detained without lawful authority.” Such is the normalization of racism in the Canadian criminal justice system. Atrocious actions become mere missteps.

Critics point out that treating the family members in such disrespectful and accusatory fashion exemplifies racism. One might add the little regard shown for the family or the community in the eight year delay between the killing and the inquest report. It could be suggested that such an egregious delay would never be accepted in the case of a killing (by anyone) of a white, privileged victim. Of course police, and police associations, seek to delay and divert inquests to benefit their own interests.

The inquest report even contradicts its own conclusions by making recommendations that imply racism by police. Among these recommendations are that the police service should consider delivery of implicit bias training for its members at regular intervals (a recognition of racist assumptions) and work with Indigenous organizations to develop programs.