Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Closing arguments in Commission of Inquiry re plot to assassinate Guyana President David Granger


By Selwyn A. Pieters, B.A., LL.B., L.E.C.
Lawyer & Notary Public (Ontario, Canada)
Attorney-at-Law (Republic of Guyana, Island of Trinidad)
Posted on August  21, 2017

The Commission of Inquiry to inquire into the persons, places, time, circumstances and events by and through which allegations and reports came to be made of an intention or a plan to assassinate the President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana has completed it hearing and the Report will be prepared by Paul E. Slowe for presentation to the President of Guyana.

Terms of Reference, Paul Slowe COI

The Commission of Inquiry had 12 sittings and concluded its public hearings on Friday August 18, 2017

Paul Slowe, Sole Commissioner
James A. Bond, was Commission Counsel
Ian N. Chang, S.C. and Brandan Glasford represented the Guyana Police Force
Glenn Hanoman represented Seelall Persaud, D.S.M.
Selwyn Pieters represented Travis Chase
Christopher Ram represented Imran Khan







Commission of Inquiry - Oral and Written Submissions








Written Argument Prepared by Selwyn Pieters on behalf of HGP Nightly News TV. Journalist Travis Chase

Written Argument of Ian N. Chang, S.C. Counsel for the Guyana Police Force submissions at the Paul Slowe COI

Written Reply Submission to Guyana Police Counsel Ian N. Chang Prepared by Selwyn Pieters on behalf of HGP Nightly News TV Journalist Travis Chase

McAteer v. Canada (Attorney General) 2014 CarswellOnt 10955, 2014 ONCA 578, 121 O.R. (3d) 1, 242 A.C.W.S. (3d) 772, 376 D.L.R. (4th) 258 (ONCA)

R. v. Peter Kemble (1990) 1 WLR 1111, [1990] 3 All E.R. 116 (H.L.)

R. v. Nasogaluak, [2010] 1 SCR 206, 2010 SCC 6, 315 DLR (4th) 193; 19 Alta LR (5th) 1; 474 AR 88; 251 CCC (3d) 293; 72 CR (6th) 1; 398 NR 107; AZ-50609170; [2010] CarswellAlta 268; EYB 2010-169818; JE 2010-403; [2010] SCJ No 6 (QL)

R. v. Neil, [2002] 3 SCR 631, 2002 SCC 70, 218 DLR (4th) 671; [2003] 2 WWR 591; 317 AR 73; 6 Alta LR (4th) 1; 168 CCC (3d) 321; 6 CR (6th) 1; 294 NR 201; [2002] CarswellAlta 1301; JE 2002-2002; [2002] SCJ No 72 (QL); 284 WAC 73; 55 WCB (2d) 36

EVIDENCE

David Ramnarine Evidence

Seelall Persaud Evidence

Wendell Blanhum Evidence

Mitchell Caesar Evidence

Andriff Gillard Evidence


Resources / Media

Bail was justified - Guyana Chronicle August 01, 2017


Thursday, August 03, 2017

Cross-examination of Seelall Persaud, the Commissioner of the Guyana Police Force, on note-taking


By Selwyn A. Pieters, B.A., LL.B., L.E.C.
Lawyer & Notary Public (Ontario, Canada)
Attorney-at-Law (Republic of Guyana, Island of Trinidad)
Created August 3, 2017

The Commission of Inquiry comprising Mr. Paul Slowe, DSM was issued on the 11th day of July, 2017, to-
1. inquire into the persons, places, time, circumstances and events by and through which allegations and reports came to be made of an intention or a plan to assassinate the President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana;
2. investigate and review the full range of the Guyana Police Force’s actions and responses to the reports and the extent to which such actions were conducted or executed with due diligence;
3. determine whether any person and, in particular, officers of the Guyana Police Force had information before and after reports were made of the plan to assassinate the President and whether any such officers communicated that information to a superior authority;
4. record and report on what official action was taken on the basis of the information received and whether there was due diligence by the officers of the Guyana Police Force in the investigation of the plan to assassinate the President;
5. review all actions taken by the Guyana Police Force and examine whether there was evidence failure, neglect or omission to thoroughly and properly investigate the intention or plan to assassinate the President and determine whether such failure or omission was intentional;
6. determine the blameworthiness for failure or neglect of officers or persons involved in the investigation and recommend action to be taken against persons found to be blameworthy;
7. recommend steps that can be taken in order to prevent the recurrence of such incident and can be deemed appropriate by the Commissioner; and 
8. identify systemic issues, if any, in the Guyana Police Force’s competence to investigate matters of this nature.

This is part of my Cross-examination of Seelall Persaud, the Commissioner of the Guyana Police Force, on note-taking and record keeping. Read and form your own opinion:

Mr. Pieters: I am Selwyn Pieters I represent the interest of a young reporter Mr. Travis Chase who is also in the Courtroom and I have some questions for you.
Mr. Persaud: Sure.
Mr. Pieters: Now Mr. Commissioner I understand that you were, sworn in as a Police Officer on October 15 1984.
Mr. Persaud: That is correct.
Mr. Pieters: And you are an internationally trained officer as well in terms of experience and education?
Mr. Persaud: That is correct.
Mr. Pieters: And that you went to Harvard University?
Mr. Persaud: That is correct.
Mr. Pieters: What did you do at Harvard University?
Mr. Persaud: A course executive education in National and International Security.
Mr. Pieters: And have you had training as well in other police organisations?
Mr. Persaud:Yes,  I did the FBI National Academy  at the FBI Academy in Virginia USA, and I did Senior Investigating in Officers Course by the Scottish Police I did several drug investigation course by many conducted by many countries around the world
.......
Mr. Pieters: When did you become aware that Mr. Chase recorded an interview with Mr. Gillard?
Mr. Persaud: I heard about an interview being aired sometime maybe shortly after he

Mr. Pieters: When was that?
Mr. Persaud: I can't recall.
Mr. Pieters: Who advised you?
Mr. Persaud: I can't recall either.
....
Mr. Pieters: Yes, I appreciate that, but let me ask you this Mr. Commissioner do you have a pocket book?
Mr. Persaud: No.
Mr. Pieters: How do you record entries of issues that are brought to your attention by Officers?
Mr. Persaud: Its filtered if there is a need to record I do record.
....
Mr. Pieters: Right, well who records, if you don't take a contemporaneous recording which is what your job is as a policeman, you are a policeman regardless if you are a Commissioner or Constable, right?
Mr. Persaud: Yes.
Mr. Pieters: And you are supposed to take contemporaneous notes, aren't you?
Mr. Persaud: On matters that are investigating on matters of interest, yes.
Mr. Pieters: And matters that are brought to your attention in your office as a police officer isn't that the case?
Mr. Persaud: No it's not the case.
.....
Mr. Pieters: Did you take any notes in respect to these matters touching in the assassination plot against the President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana?
Mr. Persaud: No I didn't.
Mr. Pieters: Why didn't you take notes?
Mr. Persaud: It was not necessary.
Mr. Pieters: I am going to suggest to you that it was.
Mr. Persaud: I am going to continue to say that it was not.
Mr. Pieters: I am going to suggest to you that it was neglect of duty for you not to take notes of an important issues such as this.
Mr. Persaud: I will totally deny that.
Mr. Pieters: Would you said that you know the date when you were advised that Mr. Chase did an interview with Gillard?
Mr. Persaud: No, it was of no interest to me.
Mr. Pieters: It was of no interest to you and we gone get to that.
Mr. Persaud: Yes
...
Mr. Pieters: Let me finish my question, that‟s the problem as a professional
policeman, you testified to the panel that you have no way of making contemporaneous
notes…
Mr. Persaud: That is true unless I find it necessary.
Mr. Pieters: Well let us deal with that.
Mr. Persaud: Yes.
Mr. Pieters: Contemporaneous notes is an aide-memoire... taking notes is an aide-memoire, it aids your memory, and it helps you…
Mr. Persaud:...I don't disagree with you…
....
Mr. Pieters: It is called an aide memoir, but it also assists you when you testify in
court.
Mr. Persaud: But I didn‟t know that it would have been called to testify on this, had I known that then from day one I would have probably made notes.
Mr. Pieters:(inaudible)
Mr. Persaud: No, I make notes when it's necessary, I didn't find it necessary.
Mr. Pieters: But where is your is your memo book?
Mr. Persaud: I have a personal diary.
Mr. Pieters: Where is your personal diary?
Mr. Persaud: It‟s in the office.
Mr. Pieters: You came to court today, you don‟t think you should have brought it?
Mr. Persaud: No.
Mr. Pieters: If that is what you use to recollect your memory.
Mr. Persaud: I am saying that I didn't write anything in relation to this matter in the diary.
Mr. Pieters: You didn't write anything on this matter, so I will suggest this to you didn't write anything on this matter Mr. Persaud because you thought that all the officers would have covered up for you and exclude you from the whole sequence, that I why you didn't make notes.
Mr. Persaud: I totally deny that I don't know of any commissioner of Police that went to any court and gives evidence of any investigation that the police force conducted during his tenure as commissioner.
Mr. Pieters: That is what I suggest to you, and I will make some suggestions to you…
Mr. Pieters: And you ordered that Gillard be sent on bail as well.
Mr. Persaud: I never knew Gillard was arrested.
Mr. Pieters: You did know…
Mr. Persaud: Until this inquiry.
Mr. Pieters: Well that shows how in tune you are with the police force that you
manage.
....
Mr. Pieters: And when would you have briefed Mr. Ramnarine prior to your leave
in…I think it was the end of February you went on leave.
Mr. Persaud: It is normally done in the week before I proceeded.
Mr. Pieters: Would you have memoed him?
Mr. Persaud: Well no, there were oral briefs.
Mr. Pieters: They were oral briefs, there was no note taker taking notes?
Mr. Persaud: No.
Mr. Pieters: And were you taking notes during the meeting with what you said to
Ramnarine?
Mr. Persaud: No.
Mr. Pieters: And is Ramnarine taking notes of what you are saying to him?
Mr. Persaud: I don‟t know.
Mr. Pieters: Well you were at the meeting tell the panel.
Mr. Persaud: I did see him writing I don‟t know if he was taking notes or writing
something else, I never review.
Mr. Pieters: So the change over of command is quite an ad-hoc matter…

Monday, June 26, 2017

BADC Closing Arguments - Andrew Loku Inquest (notes)

By Selwyn A. Pieters, B.A., LL.B., L.E.C.
Lawyer & Notary Public (Ontario, Canada)
Attorney-at-Law (Republic of Guyana, Island of Trinidad)
Created June 26, 2017
I want to thank you, members of the jury for taking the time to be here for a case that is of great importance to our communities and taking time out of your lives to be the jury in this case.

Sir Robert Peel stated that "The police are the public and the public are the police." So that if we break this down in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, and multi-racial society it means that the police must have experientially interacted with citizens including Black men and women and persons with mental health exceptionalities."

"One of the Black Action Defence Committee (BADC) Directors reminded me at lunch today that we are on one ship so that if we sink you will too.

The Relationship between police and black community must be look at holistically. If relationship continues to be strained and steps aren’t taken to ameliorate that relationship, no one is safe in this city. Black lives matter. Our lives matters.

Constable Doyle testified that he had a Black partner but never had experience interacting with Black men. You heard the evidence of Professor Nicholas Rule where he spoke of the implicit bias and the shift of perception of Black men from "happy go lucky to Black men to being stereotyped as being angry and aggressive."

Implicit bias affects all of us. 35% of all fatal shootings, at least, are black men. This has led to a fear of the police in our communities. So our fear of police is not irrational. There is disparity in policing and how we are policed. That goes to recommendation with respect to compiling of statistics. We want official statistics. We want use of Force form to be amended to document race of person, and mental health issues. Race, gender, ethnicity of anyone killed or seriously hurt. Dr. Rule spoke of being collect and analyze data on implicit bias of individual officers from recruitment to advancement through the service. He also speak of tracking this data on a systemic level. Dr. Kwame McKenzie also spoke of the important of statistics in respect to the institutional racism including the use of force. So for both experts the collection of statistics are important.

We all worked collaboratively to come up with slate. Also join recommendations of Across Boundaries, that speak about intersectionality of mental health and anti-black racism. Some people would want you to believe that racism has nothing to do with this case. Race and mental health is at the core of what this case is about. We are not taking colour blind approach to this case. Race has something to do with it. That’s why this room was filled when Constable Doyle testified. Our community wanted to hear from him. W e are disappointed that the officers said they wouldn’t change anything they did in that same situation.

We have had inquests before where jury recommended tasers. You have seen the evidence that each Toronto Police officer has a gun, three magazines of ammo (15 rounds each). We're arming them for war, not peace.

You job is very important and I echo what Mr. Morton said, it is the most important thing you will do to make recommendations to governments, agencies and the police sop that lives are saved, deaths are prevented.

See also Dr. Carlise ruling on racism

Monday, June 12, 2017

Cross-examination of Nicholas Rule on Racial Bias in Judgments of Physical Size and Formidability


By Selwyn A. Pieters, B.A., LL.B., L.E.C.
Lawyer & Notary Public (Ontario, Canada)
Attorney-at-Law (Republic of Guyana, Island of Trinidad)
Created June 12, 2017

On June 12, 2017, at the Andrew Loku Inquest I crossed examined Professor Nicholas Rule on an article he coauthored: Wilson, J. P., Hugenberg, K., & Rule, N. O Racial Bias in Judgments of Physical Size and Formidability: From Size to Threat. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.Advance online publication. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pspi0000092

--- E x T R A C T ---
NICHOLAS RULE
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR. SELWYN PIETERS:
          Q.   Good afternoon, Dr. Rule.
A.   Good afternoon.
          Q.   I am Selwyn Pieters.  I represent the Black Action Defence Committee.  Now, you spoke about implicit bias as perceiving or having Black men stereotyped as angry and aggressive.
A.   I did.  Yes.
          Q.   And you spoke about the shift of Black men being happy go lucky or Black people being perceived as happy-go-lucky people.
A.   That’s right.
          Q.   Right.  This angry and aggressive posture that comes from implicit bias, would you say that that is something that infects society as a whole?
A.   It certainly affects society as a whole, yes.
          Q.   Then so if that is the case, then the fear of a Black man is based on implicit thought processes rather than objective fear, would you agree?
A.   I would agree.
          Q.   You mentioned a shopping mall example with respect to a wallet and a gun.  You recall that?
A.   I do.
          Q.   And you mentioned that it is likely that the perception would be the Black person having the gun?
A.   That’s what the studies have shown, yes.
          Q.   Right.  So, if that situation is replicated in real life in a shopping mall where a White man has a gun and the Black man has the wallet, would it be the case, taking what you said or say -- the association of black with crime is and implicit association of Black people with crime -- that the Black person would be at risk of violence from the police or a negative reaction?
A.   You mean as opposed to the White person --
          Q.   Yes.
A.   -- with the gun?  I don’t know that it would necessarily go that far, actually.  So I think that it would be more likely that the presence of an actual gun would be a more salient stimulus to draw attention.  So I -- it is -- the studies do show that people are more likely to mistake the wallet for a gun in the hands of Black person and that they’re then faster to make a shoot decision, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they would mistake a gun for a wallet per se in the case of a White person.
          Q.   Very well.  You’re familiar with the Diallo situation in the U.S. where a Black man was shot taking a wallet out of his pocket?
A.   I am.
          Q.   Very well.  You mentioned, you spoke about implicit bias and then you spoke about implicit racism.
A.   That’s right.
          Q.   Define implicit racism for us.
A.   Implicit racism would be beliefs about a group defined by its race that are held implicitly and are of negative valence against that group.
          Q.   Very well.  Now ---
A.   If I can -- I would say implicit racism is a specific type of implicit bias.
          Q.   But it’s racism nonetheless?
A.   That’s right.  Yes.
          Q.   Right.  Would you say it’s possible for Toronto Police to compile social science data on implicit bias in relation to individual officers from the time they join the force and as they progress through the force?
A.   It is certainly possible for us to measure implicit associations held by a particular individual and to track those for changes over time.
          Q.   What about systemically within the organization?
A.   Within the organization you would need to make those individual assessments and then you could perhaps aggregate them to say that, you know, a given group of individuals is more prone towards a particular level of bias.  Though, I don’t know that that would necessarily constitute the same idea as an institutionally endorsed or a reiterated notion.
          Q.   I’m going to put some propositions to you and you can tell me whether you agree or whether you disagree or you can explain it.
A.   Sure.
          Q.   I’m going to suggest to that the perpetuation or the perpetration of implicit bias is a form of violence based on what you described today in respect to how Black men are perceived and treated.  
A.   It would depend on the way that one defines violence.  If one defines violence as a physical behaviour then I would not agree.  If one defines violence as, you know, including aggressive thoughts, that might be possible.  However, I might still disagree, actually, because I think in that case they would need to be conscious thoughts for them to be considered violent.
          Q.   Yes.  But if someone has implicit thoughts of violence against someone, are you saying that that would be excused?
A.   No.  I don’t think that one would necessarily have implicit thoughts of violence.  So, the nature of the way that, you know, a human would think about violence or particular actions wouldn’t necessarily be at an implicit level.  Those would have to occur somewhat more explicitly.  The implicit level would simply be the associations between two concepts, so it’s a -- it’s a much more basic thing.  But to actually consider a violent act, or any behaviour of that sort, would require a -- an either explicit or semi-explicit level, I think.
          Q.   I take it from your testimony, you can agree, disagree or explain it, that this implicit bias that you spoke about and that you researched and wrote about, it perpetrates oppression against a specific race and that’s Black people.
A.   I think I could agree with that.
          Q.   I also take it from your study and what you said today that the relationship between discrimination on the basis -- there is a relationship between discrimination on the basis of race and implicit bias?
A.   There is and that would be implicit racism.
          Q.   And that there is a relationship between prejudice, stereotyping, discrimination and implicit bias?
A.   There certainly is, yes.
          Q.   And that discriminatory attitudes and implicit bias are mutually exclusive?  Or they go -- sorry, not mutually exclusive.  They go hand in hand?
A.   Yes.  But not in a bidirectional manner.  So, as I said earlier, implicit bias would be present when there are discriminatory attitudes, but implicit bias can be present without discriminatory attitudes as well.
          Q.   You said something here and I’m going to put something to you and you can tell me what your position is.  You said we favour people who look like us in very important ways. 
A.   That’s right.
          Q.   So, I’m going to put this to you: Colour blindness and excuses are the means by which the dominant group maintains its position.  I can put it differently.
THE CORONER:  Perhaps if you did rephrase it might be easier for the witness. 
BY MR. PIETERS:
          Q.   If what you said today in evidence is true and this implicit bias has its most virulent or its most devastating impact on Black people, let’s say in Canada or in Toronto, then we can’t really boil down implicit bias or any of these things in a colour-blind way.
A.   Well, what I can say about colour blindness is that it’s typically regarded as an ineffective strategy for dealing with race relations.  Colour blindness typically -- so the idea of colour blindness is the notion that if we ignore differences between groups -- in this case racial groups, groups defined by colour differences, typically -- that there won’t be problems.  That if we just, you know, if we don’t see the differences then there aren’t issues to discuss.  The data have clearly shown that that is not effective but rather it masks the underlying issues.  But rather an approach that acknowledges differences and discusses those differences is more effective for ameliorating any discrepancies that are based on those differences.
THE CORONER:  Mr. Pieters, a time warning.  You have two minutes.
MR. PIETERS:  Very well.  I’m going to finish way before then, Dr. Carlisle.
THE CORONER:  Anything you can do to help.
BY MR. PIETERS:
          Q.   What effect does denial from a systemic level, for example, a president of a police association denying that police act on implicit biases, have on managing that association or managing its members in dealing with issues of implicit bias or racism?
A.   I think that that would likely be problematic.  I think any time that -- if we’re truly discussing denial as a concept whereby one knows one thing but does not wish to accept it, as denial is often used in the psychological literature, then that wouldn’t be -- that is not a productive step towards making any kind of change.  It’s important that one acknowledges a phenomenon before one can potentially even deal with.
          Q.   What would be your recommendation to the jury for a police service to confront this issue and deal with it?
A.   That’s a very big question.  I think that, you know, if there are differences in the way that suspects are being treating on the basis of their race, then certainly an examination is required to understand why this is occurring, how it’s occurring and then steps would need to be taken.  If it’s determined that this is based on implicit biases, that is associations or expectations that people from one racial group are more prone to criminal behaviour than another, then some of the training exercises that we discussed earlier today might be appropriate for attempting to correct those biases.
          Q.   Than you, Dr. Carlisle.  Thank you, Dr. Rule.
A.   Thank you. 

THE CORONER:  Thank you, Mr. Pieters.
See also, Wendy Gillis, Black men perceived as more threatening, expert tells Andrew Loku inquest, Toronto Star, June 12, 2017

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Implicit bias, anti-Black racism and police use of force in Toronto, Ont...



Implicit Bias and Race:

Implicit bias is widely accepted as affecting nearly every criminal justice context.
Implicit bias in policing affects the ability to detect threats with Black suspects, the decision to use force, and ultimately, the approach to the Use of Force Model. For example, Black suspects are viewed as larger, more physically imposing threats, with or without a weapon. Racial profiling is both an act and a title. People notice what race we are on an everyday basis. Some individual Police Officer act on their personal biases.
That has always been the case. However, given that racial bias is largely implicit, i.e. officers are unaware that race plays a role in their interaction with Black suspects, the discussion of implicit bias needs to be progressive. Implicit bias is hard to detect because officers are unable to have any introspection into how race plays into their decision-making. This is especially prevalent for officers who genuinely hold the position that race was not a factor in their decision to use force. Bias-free policing looks at behaviour, rather than appearance, to come to strategic decisions.

If race even only plays a factor amongst many factors in the decision to act or refrain from acting, the manner in which Black suspects are treated can be dramatically different than the way White suspects are treated in similar situations. In other words, race does not have to be the cause for the interaction with a suspect, however, when race factors into the decision on how to approach a conflict, the results can be disastrous. Racism Behaviour is not a social issue that simply disappears over time; it requires a myriad of active decisions to raise awareness of implicit bias and extensive training. Implicit bias has an inexorable link to the decision to use force.

One of the primary decisions that must be made in use of force is the decision to de-escalate, even in the face of a threat. In the following section I outline the legitimate considerations that are involved in threat assessments and the decision to use force.
Race will never be a legitimate consideration.

This is not to say that the officers involved are necessarily racist or have any malicious or malevolent racist impulses; but the officers, under the pressure that comes with the job as an officer, may have what has been termed a "shooter bias." Shooter bias research suggests that there is a bias for white people to shoot Black suspects more often than White suspects. This is predominantly rooted in the belief that Black suspects, armed or unarmed, are more volatile and dangerous. If the officer has the implicit bias that there is a greater danger posed by a Black suspect, they feel justified in using a corresponding response according to the Use of Force model.

I will discuss the considerations that go into the decision to use force, including when force can be used, the types of force that can be used, the use of force continuum, the factors to determine whether the use of force was excessive or not, and the broad and flexible powers of de-escalation. One must never forget that "Hormonal Induced Stress" often affects police officers in deadly force encounters.

.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Black Action Defense Committee Granted Standing in Andrew Loku Inquest

The Black Action Defense Committee will be representing the Black Community’s Interest at the Inquest into the Police Shooting Death of Andrew Loku on July 7, 2015. The Inquest opens tomorrow, Monday June 5th at the Coroner’s Court at 25 Morton Shulman Ave. Toronto, Ontario M3M 0B1.

BADC will be represented by Civil Rights Lawyer Selwyn A. Pieters, B.A., LL.B., L.E.C.
Lawyer & Notary Public

The following points are of Particular Interest to BADC:
  

1.   Andrew Loku’s killing by the police in less than 90 seconds of arriving on the scene is very troubling and The Black Action Defense Committee is interested in exploring this Issue more fully at the Inquest.
2.       The current police methods and practice in responding to crisis calls, by deploying police with lethal weapons and the use of lethal weapons as the initial intervention strategy when it is well known that Police officers give commands and that distraught or angry people react very negatively to force and commands is of grave concern to BADC.
3.       BADC wants change to the Paradigm in how crisis calls are viewed by the police to reflect a human service crisis intervention model in which human service professionals with appropriate behavior management and Crisis intervention skills are first deployed to defuse the situation.
(As a mental health professional I have been involved in defusing crises by utilizing human relations and human service/ behavior management responding skills to, successfully deescalate crisis situations for Decades.) 
4.       Since many of these situations end up in the police killing the agitated individual, we propose that prior to police intervention, a skilled human service professional with crisis management and behavior management skills be deployed; to do the intervention and only if, and when, that person advises the police that the situation cannot be resolved without their direct intervention should the police approach distressed people.
5.       For this to work, Police Services would need to hire a significant pool of human service trained professionals in order to have them deployed as first responders in such situations.
6.       Alternatively, we recommend the creation of another agency that will first deploy when 911 calls indicate someone in crisis. Those professionals would be able to defuse the situation and assess whether further professional assistance is required by the individuals and engage the appropriate type of services for the individuals in question. (Not necessarily the traditional trip to the Psychiatric Hospital.)
7.       Another area of interest of BADC, is exploring what a rational standard ought to be, for officers to use to determine when their safety or life is in danger. This cannot be left up to individual officers judgment, without guidance because not all fears are rational and if the standard remains alleged fear by the office, without any objective criteria for assessment of the risk, then innocent people that pose no harm will continue to die at the hands of police.

BADC believe that the reasonable person’s test should be applied to this situation to develop a set of standards to be used by police and other first responders. 

Background:

The Black Action Defense Committee was established after the Police Killing of Lester Donaldson in 1988. Mr. Donaldson was a Black Man with mental health problems. He had been the subject of extensive police harassment and a prior police shooting which left him disabled.
BADC sought standing at his inquest to determine what if any role race played in his shooting but standing was denied on the basis that there was no evidence that race was a factor despite several Affidavits to the contrary. See case below re litigation and appeal of the Coroners decision.

Black Action Defence Committee v. Huxter, Coroner, 11 OR (3d) 641; [1992] OJ No 2741 (QL); 59 OAC 327 (ON SC), <http://canlii.ca/t/g1524>

Since Lester Donaldson’s death, several other Black men have similarly been killed by the police and numerous inquests have been held which attempt to explore how race and mental health issues are addressed by the police and why lethal force is usually deployed when these two characteristics, being Black with mental health issues intersect.
For further information,
Contact: Kingsley Gilliam 647-267-1774

                Valarie Steele    416-656-4624