Say their names: There were at least 59 police-involved deaths in Canada in 2018

Jan 10 15:01 2019 Print This Article

Jeff Shantz

In Canada, there is still no formal, systematic process for documenting and recording the police-involved deaths of civilians. Also, there is no systematic method for reporting publicly on civilian deaths through police encounters. Much information is left unreported, including race, ethnicity, age and gender. Often, crucial details like mental health issues are not reported. There is no central registry of victims and victims are not named publicly except in cases where family members come forward to name a loved one killed during a police encounter.

And, perhaps most importantly, little is reported about the officers involved when civilians die through police contact. Officers are not named unless they are criminally charged, which rarely happens, or if there is an inquiry or coroner’s inquest some time well after the fact. This means that the public does not know if officers who have killed are still on the streets, if some officers are repeat offenders or whether officers involved in a killing have personal or professional histories of prejudice or racism. Naming cops who kill is crucial for public knowledge and safety and must become regular practice.

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