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

Dave Kral, owner of the Cobblestone Inn in Cobble Hill, and his staff are frustrated with the new health restrictions banning indoor dining at restaurants in B.C. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Cowichan Valley restaurants try to survive with new restrictions

Dining rooms ordered to close for three weeks as COVID-19 cases surge

The City of Duncan has begun the process to prepare a new transportation plan. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Duncan gets on board with transportation plan

But high cost raises concerns

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
North Cowichan to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Police: mental health crisis likely in car driven through Saanich Walmart wall

Man in his early 20s drove through a parkade wall, no serious injuries reported

A plane is seen through the window on the tarmac of Vancouver International Airport as the waiting room is empty. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
100+ international travellers who landed in B.C. refused to quarantine

The Public Health Agency of Canada says it issued $3,000 violation tickets to each

A health-care worker holds up a vial of the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Montreal, Thursday, March 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
PHAC receives first report of blood clot linked to AstraZeneca

The federal agency says the person is now recovering at home

The Campbell River Gun Club outdoor range is located on Argonaut Road west of Campbell River. CRGC/Facebook photo
Campbell River Gun Club range shut down after complaints of stray bullets

Neighbour says bullets hit caretaker’s RV and shattered a glass panel on his deck

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve’s Green Point Campground saw an unprecedented flurry of reservations last week. (Pacific Rim National Park Reserve photo)
Pacific Rim National Park Reserve campground sees ‘unprecedented’ interest

Reservations being accepted as Green Point Campground scheduled to open May 1

Restaurant owners Oura and Kymon Giakoumakis visit the PQB News/VI Free Daily studio. (Peter McCully photo)
PODCAST: COVID-19 pandemic hits Island’s food service industry hard

Pair of Vancouver Island restaurant owners share thoughts and advice

A real estate sign is pictured in Vancouver, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS Jonathan Hayward
1 in 3 young Canadians have given up on owning a home: poll

Data released Monday says 36% of adults younger than 40 have given up on home ownership entirely

A Nanaimo man will serve nine months in jail for the sexual assault of a young girl he admitted to having committed more than 40 years ago. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo man sentenced for sexually abusing girl more than 40 years ago

Man, now 71, gets nine-month sentence for abuse of friend’s daughter

Most Read