People hold signs in solidarity during a rally for justice for Ejaz Choudry, a 62-year-old man who was recently killed in a Peel Regional Police-involved shooting, in Mississauga, Ont., on Saturday, June 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin

People hold signs in solidarity during a rally for justice for Ejaz Choudry, a 62-year-old man who was recently killed in a Peel Regional Police-involved shooting, in Mississauga, Ont., on Saturday, June 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin

Four of 55 reviews into police shootings completed in 2020; one officer charged

Experts say it is common for an investigation into a police shooting to take months or more than a year

Experts say it takes time to properly investigate a police shooting — even when the public is calling for quick results — but details on the outcome must be more transparent.

Of 55 police shootings that resulted in death or injury in Canada in the first 11 months of this year, four investigations were completed by Nov. 30.

One officer was charged.

Ontario’s police watchdog charged a Peel Regional Police officer in July in a shooting that injured Chantelle Krupka, a 34-year-old Black woman, on Mother’s Day. The officer, who has since resigned, faces charges of criminal negligence causing bodily harm, assault with a weapon and careless use of a firearm.

In mid-November, Nova Scotia’s police watchdog ruled the August shooting of a 25-year-old man, who allegedly approached officers while holding a knife, was justified. The man, who was not identified, was injured.

The Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia found in October that officers were justified in the fatal shooting of homeless advocate Barry Shantz in January. Officers had responded to a request for a wellness check that indicated Shantz was armed and suicidal. The investigation found officers negotiated with Shantz for hours before he came out of the house with a shotgun.

In Nunavut, Attachie Ashoona was shot and killed by RCMP in February. The Ottawa Police Service investigated and, in August, said there was no basis for charges. Almost no information about what happened was released. Soon after, the territory announced it plans to create its own civilian police review agency.

Experts say it is common for an investigation into a police shooting to take months or more than a year. But during that time, there can be damage to a community’s trust in police.

Erick Laming, who is from the Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nation, is a PhD candidate in criminology at the University of Toronto and one of the co-authors of a use-of-force study for the Ontario Human Rights Commission. He says even one shooting can have wide-reaching implications, especially on marginalized communities.

That’s why there must be transparency, Laming says. “It can impact that community for years.”

There has been a significant public distrust of police in Nunavut for a long time. RCMP killed Inuit sled dogs between the 1950s and 1970s as part of a federal plan to have people abandon their traditional lifestyles.

The distrust is compounded, Laming says, when a southern police force flies in to investigate shootings, clears officers, and keeps reports confidential.

Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Toronto, says he understands it takes time to investigate a police shooting. But if the public is asked to have patience, police forces and investigative bodies need to be transparent about the outcomes.

There is evidence that lack of transparency around police shootings erodes trust, he says.

“It decreases levels of trust and confidence in police among those people who perceive that action to be unjust.”

READ MORE: Victoria police officer justified in discharge of less-lethal weapon, says police watchdog

Kelly Geraldine Malone and Meredith Omstead, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Police

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Construction on the main foyer at the soon-to-be opened Clayton Community Centre. (Photo courtesy of HCMA Architecture + Design)
Clayton Community Centre opening delayed again

City says Provincial Health Order reason for latest delay

Court of Appeal in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man convicted of assault, unlawfully confining woman pregnant with his child loses court appeal

Victim tells court he drove her to Guildford parking lot after he’d ‘grabbed’ her neck and she fainted

Peter and Stephanie Chung. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey philanthropists presenting $285K in scholarships on Saturday

Drs. Peter and Stephanie Chung over the past nine years have awarded more than 500 students, in memory of their son Joseph

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette takes the royal salute from the Guard of Honour as she makes her way deliver the the throne speech, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns, apologizes for ‘tensions’ at Rideau Hall

Payette, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada, has been the governor general since 2017

Grounded WestJet Boeing 737 Max aircraft are shown at the airline’s facilities in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, May 7, 2019. WestJet will operate the first commercial Boeing 737 Max flight in Canada today since the aircraft was grounded in 2019 following two deadly crashes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Passengers unfazed as WestJet returns Boeing 737 Max to service on Vancouver flight

After a lengthy review process, Transport Canada cleared the plane to return to Canadian airspace

Most Read