Home > abuse of power, Beat Cops, Canada, Government, Uncategorized > Canadian Law Enforcement Officers Resorting To Deadly Force As Their First Option When Dealing With Law Breakers

Canadian Law Enforcement Officers Resorting To Deadly Force As Their First Option When Dealing With Law Breakers

Let me acknowledge right away that I think that our members of law enforcement have a difficult, dangerous and stressful job, but having said that I feel that this does not excuse what seems to be a recurring decision by police officers and members of the RCMP to use deadly force when they are not in danger and neither is anyone else.  This excessive use of deadly force for no reason is happening more often and all over the country.

Recently in Leduc Alberta, a 27- year-old man died a day after police used a Taser on him. Three RCMP officers and the young man got into an  altercation in a gas station and the 3 RCMP police officers found it necessary to Taser the young man to subdue him, just before putting handcuffs on him.  The young man went immediately into medical distress and lost consciousness after being Tasered and died in the hospital the next day as a result of being Tasered and all ASIRT Executive Director Clifton Purvis ( Alberta Serious Incident Response Team) had to say about the incident was, “At this point, we don’t know whether or not [the Taser] contributed to the medical condition and subsequent death of this individual”.  “There will be an autopsy conducted on that male later this week.”  the problem I am having and I think that you should as well is that this is not an isolated incident it is the second death linked to provincial RCMP officers in Alberta this weekend.   A man was fatally shot by another RCMP officer near Pigeon Lake on Saturday evening. ASIRT, an independent body that investigates incidents involving serious injury or death that may relate to the actions of a police officer, is looking into both incidents.

Days before that in Toronto, police not only fatally shot a young man who has thrown everyone off a street car and is hold up alone in the vehicle, armed with a knife, but after he has been shot at least nine times by a police officer deems it appropriate to Taser the young man as well.  Did the young man commit a serious crime absolutely, considering the facts listed below did this young man have to die that day, I think not.

  • There is no one but the man inside the streetcar. (No hostages in fear for their lives)
  • The police are in no danger he is making no aggressive moves and he is armed only with a knife.
  • The young man is surrounded and so he can neither escape, or hurt anyone.

There used to be a time when members of law enforcement used to be called peace officers and it meant something, but somewhere they stopped keeping the peace and started using deadly force as a 1st resort instead of a last resort.  Police used to be trained to defuse situations, wait situations out where there was no danger to themselves the public, or hostage, but now it would see that the police are killing at will and using the excuse of fear for their lives as justification for killing where there is no danger to anyone.  It begs for the question to be answered ,”What is up Canada”?  What has gone wrong with police training that contrary to the evidence, (Such as in the Toronto shooting), that police feel that they are in danger   need to kill law breakers, or use excessive force. It would seem that the police are walking around frightened all the time and pose a real threat to justice being served, because more and more their feelings of imminent danger  are resulting in a death sentence for the law-breaker instead of a jail sentence.

“As the Sammy Yatim case in Toronto and similar ones in other Canadians cities have demonstrated, the public is not convinced that lethal force is justifiable solely on the subjective ground that an officer feels threatened,” the Globe argued.  “Police schools need to teach officers that – except in the most obvious and extreme cases – their primary role in confronting a citizen who may be mentally ill is to delay and de-escalate, not to confront aggressively and resolve quickly.”

“Officers’ decisions are made far away from the comfortable armchair of afterthought,” the Globe pointed out.  But studies have shown officers who’re trained on how to deal with the mentally ill are more likely to try to de-escalate a confrontation.  “Training can save lives, but the current levels of training in Canadian police forces remain inadequate and poorly enforced. There is no excuse for this.”

I think the  members of the of law enforcement need to go back to the old training manual and rules of engagement, where the police officers were expected to bring those who broke the law in alive wherever possible and not dead or alive depending on the officers mood that day.  I submit that when 9 police officers have one man trapped in a vehicle and he is armed with a knife and they feel so threatened for their lives that they all shoot him and then use A Taser on him, that these law enforcement officers may have chosen the wrong career.

It as though we have entered a Robocop sense of reality where the best advice if you do not want to be shot down by the police is, “If you do not want to get killed by the police do not break the law; no matter how small the violation, we could feel threatened.  I know that members of law enforcement in Canada are now being trained to see all citizens as the enemy and they are taught to put down any violators of the law with maximum force.  There is no more mediating, negotiating, there is only shooting and daring the next guy to break the law.  I said it before that I recognise that members of law enforcement have a dangerous and stressful job, but what will be left for judges to do, if people who should be going to jail for breaking the law stop making it to court and end up going to the morgue, because police are too frightened for their lives every time they are presented with a stand-off, uncooperative law-breaker, or their training is to pull the gun, approach the suspect and shoot?  The other problem is when law breakers get frightened enough of police and fear that an approaching policeman with his or her gun drawn is an automatic death sentence, they might start arming themselves and shooting police.  They might even try using the defence that they were in fear of their lives, because of the latest increases of excessive  force cases by law enforcement officers, resulting in the needless death of law breakers.

The fact is that people do break the law, but it is up to the courts to decide what the penalty should be for breaking the law.  The policeman’s job in this case is to capture the law-breaker and make it possible for a court to mete out justice, not to become the judge jury and executioner.  If the police are so afraid for their lives that they are killing people where there is no real danger than there is something really wrong and anything could trigger the response to shoot to kill, instead of  arrest and hold over for trial.  If these police are killing and are not afraid for their lives, then they are murders plain and simple and need to be tried in a court of law and punished to the full extent of it.

I will close by saying this, “I used to live on the wrong side of the law, but would never have dreamt of pulling a gun a trying to shoot the police for doing their job and arresting me, because I knew that they would arrest me and I would have my day in court; I was not afraid of them killing me if I did not give them reason to and so when approached by the police I di not try to kill them. I am glad that I grew up in those times and got to go before a judge, serve my time and live to become a father and productive member of society.  I believe this is the way the law and justice is supposed to work and is not right now”.

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