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
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.
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;  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