Black Press Media file photo.

RCMP watchdog joins voices calling out ‘unreasonable use of force’ in wellness checks

Michelaine Lahaie says she has yet to hear from Brenda Lucki in response to

In wake of a number of high-profile incidents by police, the independent watchdog for the Canadian Mounties says it has concerns about “unreasonable use of force” during wellness checks and related calls.

The chair of the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission Michelaine Lahaie said in a statement issued Tuesday (July 21) that she has consistently highlights concerns about police adopting a “command and control” approach, which she called an authoritative style of dealing with a non‑compliant person.

“The commission’s reports have repeatedly found that this ‘command and control’ approach has led to the RCMP’s unreasonable use of force in apprehending persons in crisis,” Lahaie continued.

The commission, created in 1988 as part of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act, is an independent Canadian government agency which examines complaints of improper on-duty conduct by RCMP officers.

Over the past five years the commission has received roughly 10,000 complaints, and has issued 14 reports concerning individual cases where the RCMP’s actions concerning a wellness check or person in crisis was “unreasonable.”

In 2016, the commission recommended a review of RCMP policies and training around the use of force. Earlier this year, Lahaie recommended RCMP commissioner Brenda Lucki work with individual provinces and territories to create appropriate health care-led response options.

READ MORE: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

“The commission understands that sometimes a police response to a person in crisis will be necessary. For instance, where there is concurrent criminality or a clear risk to public safety,” Lahaie said.

“In that sense, the RCMP’s role is an important one, but not the only one. Mental health professionals should be leading the response, with police providing support as necessary.”

Lucki has not yet responded to the most recent report.

In recent months, police-involved wellness checks have sparked debate nationwide with many calling for ample police reform.

This includes the death of B.C. Indigenous woman Chantel Moore, who was shot and killed by police in Edmundston, N.B., as well as the criminal investigation into a Kelowna RCMP officer after a video was released showing the officer dragging nursing student Mona Wang down a hallway in January. A lawsuit has also been filed in that incident.

Black Press Media has reached out to the RCMP for comment.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

RCMP

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dogs are matched with the person, not the person matched to the dog – Prince Rupert SPCA

Prince Rupert SPCA does their due diligence in adopting dogs to suitable human companions

Photo Gallery: Memorial totem pole raising in Prince Rupert

The memorial pole stands in memory of Prince Rupert carvers mother on Second Ave. West

Province, feds, Wet’suwet’en announce progress in MOU talks

External community engagement process launched to help implement Wet’suwet’en rights and title

Memorial totem pole raised in Prince Rupert

The memorial pole was a two year project led by local carver Lyle Campbell

Heart of our city – Fighting for the road to recovery

World champion kick-boxer wins at Trinity House recovery program

578 British Columbians currently infected with COVID-19

Seventy-eight new cases confirmed in past 24 hours

Conservation seizes fawn illegally kept captive in Vancouver Island home

A Comox Valley resident charged and fined under the Wildlife Act

Pandemic could be driving more parents to get on board with flu shot: study

University of B.C. study gauges willingness for parents to vaccinate children for influenza

Watchdog clears Okanagan RCMP in death of man after arrest over alleged stolen pizzas

The man died in hospital after having difficulty breathing and broken ribs

Have you seen Berleen? B.C. pig destined for sanctuary goes missing

Berleen was less than two weeks from travelling to Manitoba when she vanished

Health Canada says several kids hospitalized after eating edible pot products

People warned not to store cannabis products where children can find them

‘It’s not just about me’: McKenna cites need to protect politicians from threats

Police investigation was launched after someone yelled obscenities at a member of McKenna’s staff

Michigan plans dedicated road lanes for autonomous vehicles

First study of its kind in the U.S. to figure out whether existing lanes or shoulders could be used

Most Read