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Jury Returns Verdict of Homicide in Police Shooting Inquest

Coroner's inquest examining the fatal police shootings of three mentally ill people issued ruling and multiple recommendations.

Photo by AshtonPal, from the Torontoist Flickr pool.

Over the course of three months, a coroner’s inquest looked into the deaths of Michael Eligon, 29, Sylvia Klibingaitis, 52, and Reyal Jardine-Douglas, 25—three people with mental illnesses who were fatally shot by Toronto police in separate incidents. Each person had been carrying a knife or scissors when the confrontations with police occurred.

Today, a five-member jury determined that these deaths should be considered homicides; such a verdict does not involve the same consequences it would in a criminal trial, but establishes that the actions of another person resulted in each fatality.

The jury also issued dozens of recommendations: for example, police should receive additional training in verbal de-escalation techniques, remain aware of a person’s mental state and not simply his behaviour, and resort to shooting only after other options have been exhausted. Jury members also recommended that police rely more on in-car cameras and cameras that can be attached to uniforms, and more commonly use body armour that can protect officers against sharp weapons, and shields that can aid in the disarming of people carrying such weapons.

No officers have faced charges related to the shootings.

Comments

  • 2615152613

    What a farce, like almost all public enquiries, this was an exercise in appeasing a small but vocal minority fueled by media attention for political reasons. Unsurprisingly, the inquiry recommended better training in non-violent techniques like verbal de-escalation, a change in use of force guidelines and the denial of the use of non-lethal alternatives.

    I don’t know about the cases of the two dudes (although I think one of them may have slashed people) but that chick came running out her front door at the officer, full bore, scissors raised above head, screaming. In retrospect, hindsight being 20/20, she probably wanted to commit suicide by cop but the police officer perceiving his life was threatened acted entirely reasonably. If there are any circumstances, ever, to justify ultimate force he faced them.

    What an unimaginative and predictable act of appeasement by politicians who have no idea what it’s like to see someone, quite possibly in a psychotic state running at you with a weapon, intent on stabbing you. No, I’m not a cop nor, in many instances, a police supporter. I just find the Quaker/pacifist/every-just-needs-to-talk-to-a-mental-health-worker/backseat cop attitude of many members of the public a joke.

    ps: In fact, now that I think about Elgion, may have actually slashed a couple of people.

    • tomwest

      One wonders how gun-less police in the UK deal with such things. On the whole, they manage to deal with such situations without killing anyone (by shooting or otherwise). Why can’t we have a similar situation here in Canada?