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Black Lives Matter a welcome force for change: DiManno

20 Avril 2016

Black lives matter, of course they do. It shouldn’t have taken a worldwide movement to accentuate the fact that blacks are disproportionately killed, over-policed and racially profiled.

The crime is that it should have to be said at all, over and over again.

There’s not much for Canadians to feel smug about, merely because the death tables of blacks killed by law enforcement pale, even in ratio terms, compared to the U.S. According to a Washington Post analysis of data — 986 slain by law enforcement in total last year — blacks were killed at three times the rate of whites, and 40 per cent of them were unarmed when confronted by cops.

Attorney General has yet to read SIU report on Loku shooting — let alone make it public

20 Avril 2016

A month after the Special Investigations Unit cleared the Toronto police officer who shot and killed Andrew Loku, the attorney general says she has not yet read the secret report that details how that decision was made.

Madeleine Meilleur said her chief of staff, Shane Gonsalves, has a copy and that she will obtain it and read it. But asked Monday if she could make the report public afterwards, she said: “You know what, I don’t think so.”

RCMP misconduct cases jump 158% in single year

20 Avril 2016

The number of misconduct investigations the RCMP launched into their own staff went up by 158 per cent in 2015 over the previous year, leaving 56 officers facing possible dismissal over allegations of serious misconduct.

Details of the development are contained in a document posted to the RCMP website called Results and Respect in the RCMP Workplace.

The document appears to be a means of updating the public on how the national police force has followed through on the findings and recommendations from the Mounties' Gender-Based Assessment and Gender and Respect Action Plan, in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

SIU’s creation came amidst racially-charged atmosphere

19 Avril 2016

“When a police shooting results in a fatality, an investigation into the incident is critical to ensure that the law and policy on the use of deadly force is not only complied with, but so seen by the public.” — Report from the Task Force on Race Relations and Policing, which led to the creation of the SIU

Black men had been shot dead by police, the public was furious, and the collective confidence in police oversight was at an all-time low.

The year could have been 2016, with protesters camped outside police headquarters, demanding justice for Andrew Loku and others shot dead by police and decrying the lack of transparency, while Toronto city council asks the province for a review of the police watchdog.

SIU governed by ‘legislative afterthought’

19 Avril 2016

The Special Investigations Unit has the monumental task of investigating the police and laying criminal charges against officers, yet its authority is derived from a mere 11 sentences buried at the bottom of a statute that deals with other issues.

“A legislative afterthought,” as former Ontario Ombudsman André Marin put it in his 2008 report on his investigation into the SIU, titled “Oversight Unseen.”

Marin is among a growing number of advocates pushing for the section dealing with the SIU to be taken out of the Police Services Act — which largely deals with policing in the province — and create a separate act that would focus solely on the SIU.

Brantford family ‘stuck in a terrible limbo’ awaiting SIU decision — five years on

19 Avril 2016

An unexpected phone call one day in January 2015 brought bizarre but welcome news to the family of Evan Jones.

Almost five years since the 18-year-old was shot dead by Brantford police — long after police had been cleared and a coroner’s inquest had been held — the investigation into Jones’ death, they learned, would be reopened.

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the civilian watchdog that probes fatal encounters with Ontario police, told Jones’ mother they received new information about his death that, had it been known at the time, could have affected the outcome of the investigation.

Montreal North: Dust settles after peaceful protest turns violent

16 Avril 2016

Ricardo Lamour says he’s afraid Quebecers won’t remember why people marched on that snowy April 6 evening in Montreal North.

He fears they won’t recall those peaceful hours, when hundreds sang songs, chanted protest slogans and paid homage to two men who were shot by police in the neighbourhood.

Instead, he’s worried our collective memories will be punctuated by that brief flurry of violence, by the sound of broken glass and images of thick smoke plumes billowing above a pair of smouldered cars.

Montreal North riot: 'You're not from this neighbourhood'

16 Avril 2016

I visited Montreal North, the neighbourhood where I spent 33 years of my life, on April 6. I was there to document a tribute to Jean-Pierre Bony, who had died from injuries sustained during a police operation.

About 100 people had gathered in the parking lot behind the Montreal North community and cultural centre, not only to pay homage to Bony but also to celebrate the birthday of Fredy Villanueva, an 18-year-old killed by police in the same parking lot in August 2008.

Protesters, police clash at anti-police brutality march

12 Avril 2016

It was rowdy on the streets of Montreal Monday night as protesters clashed with police after an anti-police brutality march.

The march began at the St. Laurent metro station, and protesters made their way east to SQ headquarters at on Parthenais St. in the east end.

Demonstrators were marching in solidarity with the family of Sandy Michel, a young native man who was killed last week by police in Lac-Simon, near Val d’Or.

The march was declared illegal soon after it started.

Tear gas had to be used to disperse the crowd.

Villanueva and Bony: Demonstrators pay tribute, show solidarity for two killed by police

07 Avril 2016

A snap spring snowfall did little to dampen the spirits of more than 70 people who gathered at a Montreal North park on Wednesday evening to celebrate the life of Fredy Villanueva.

It was more than seven years ago — on Aug. 9, 2008 — that Montreal police shot dead Villanueva, who was 18 at the time.

But rather than mourn Villanueva’s death, they decided to commemorate his birthday posthumously.

At the same time, demonstrators showed up to denounce the death on Monday of Jean-Pierre Bony, who was struck in the head with a rubber bullet fired by police during an alleged drug-ring bust.

Those who knew Villanueva and Bony mingled, showing solidarity for the deaths of the two men.

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