Activists and Residents in Peel Region Continue to Demand an End to Police Impunity
demanding police accountability, October 20, 2020.
Activists and residents in Malton, a neighbourhood of Mississauga, in
Peel Region, west of Toronto, continue to demand an end to police
impunity in light of the inexcusable delay in providing justice for the
families of three men who were shot and killed by Peel Regional Police
earlier this year.
Jamal Francique, age 28, was
killed in an "interaction" with Peel Regional Police in
Mississauga, on January 7. The case was immediately referred
to the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the Ontario agency mandated
to review any case involving a death or serious injury that may have
been caused by a crime committed by a police officer. A press release
issued by the SIU on July 24 states that "the fieldwork has been
substantially completed" and the identity of the "subject officer,'"
the one who actually shot and killed Mr. Francique, is known.
Ontario law imposes a duty on the Director of the SIU to
recommend criminal charges against an on-duty officer who is known to
have killed or injured someone in any case where there are "reasonable
grounds" for charges to be laid. However, it has been more than nine
months since Mr. Francique was killed and at least two months since the
fieldwork was "substantially completed" and the killer identified. No
reason has been given to the family or to the public to explain why
charges have not been announced.
26, was similarly killed in an "interaction" with Peel Regional Police
in Brampton, also in Peel Region, on April 6. A press release issued by
the SIU on June 11 states that the identity of the "subject officer" is
known and that the SIU has statements from the four other police
officers who were present, as well as from four members of Mr.
Campbell's family. It has now been more than six months since Mr.
Campbell was killed and more than four months since the SIU has had
"reasonable grounds" to charge the shooter. No explanation has been
given to the family or to the public for the delay in bringing charges.
Ejaz Choudry, a
62-year-old father of four, was alone in his apartment in Malton, when
he was killed in an "interaction" with Peel Regional Police on June 20.
Three members of the Peel Regional Police scaled a ladder to Mr.
Choudry's second-storey balcony, pushed open the door to the apartment
and, within seconds, began shooting through the doorway. All three then
entered the unit, where one of them shot Mr. Choudry twice and killed
him, even though the victim did not pose a danger to anyone. The
sequence of events was captured on video by a neighbour living across
the street. In a press release issued by the SIU on June 21, the SIU
acknowledged that the video was in its possession. The press release
also confirmed that the "subject officer" had been identified and that
the other two officers had been interviewed. It has now been four
months since the SIU has had sufficient evidence to charge Mr.
Choudry's killer, but no answer has been given to the family or the
community as to why the shooter has been allowed to escape criminal
liability and, presumably continues to be deployed in the community.
Another outrageous incident on May 10 resulted in a serious
injury to another innocent victim when two Peel officers attended on a
domestic dispute call at a residence in another part of Mississauga. In
the course of the encounter with the police, Chantelle Krupka and her
partner Michael Headley were both hit with tasers. While she was lying
on the ground, Ms. Krupka was shot in the abdomen by one of the police
officers for no valid reason. Ms. Krupka required surgery for a
shattered hip and has become a vocal advocate for justice for all the
victims. In retaliation, the police have laid dubious criminal charges
against her and Mr. Headley that have yet to be resolved.
the death of Mr. Choudry on June 20, community activists and family
members of the victims have held a series of actions to call for
justice for the victims and to unite the community to take a stand
against police impunity. These started June 21 when activists occupied
the intersection of Goreway Drive and Morningstar Drive in Malton,
where Mr. Choudry had lived, to draw attention to the alarming number
of fatal encounters with Peel Police this year.
June 27, 2020 Justice for Ejaz Choudry rally outside Peel Police
On June 27, a rally of close to 300 people was held in front
of the new Peel Regional Police headquarters to denounce the police
killings. Friends and families of the victims spoke out to express
their grief and their desire for justice. They were joined by two imams
from local mosques where Mr. Choudry was known for his kind and gentle
Community residents at
the July 1, 2020 rally.
On July 1, hundreds of
people from the neighbourhood rallied at the same corner in Malton
where Mr. Choudry lived. Spokespersons for the victims' families
described how they have been faced with silence from the SIU and empty
promises of compensation from local authorities. The speakers demanded
that the identities of the shooters be made known and that they be
fired so that the community can begin to feel safe, knowing the killers
are no longer be free to carry out their criminal actions in the
community with impunity.
Protest at Peel Police
Division 22, July 16, 2020.
On July 16, activists
held a protest at 22 Division of Peel Regional Police to demand that
the concocted charges against Ms. Krupka and Mr. Headley be dropped.
Just as the protest was about to start, Ms. Krupka learned from the SIU
that the female officer who shot her, Valerie Briffa, had been charged
with criminal negligence causing bodily harm, assault with a weapon,
and careless use of a firearm (but not attempted murder). Ms. Briffa, a
probationary officer for eight months, had already resigned.
vigil, July 20, 2020.
On July 20, the one-month
anniversary of the killing of Mr. Choudry, a march and vigil in Malton
again demanded an end to police impunity, especially in light of the
lack of any answers from the SIU in the cases of the three shooting
Another rally for police accountability was
held in Brampton on August 23, where the victims' families again had an
opportunity to describe to the community and to the local media
assembled for the event, the treatment they had received. Two family
members of Mr. Francique presented a rap song dedicated to his memory
and a young woman performed a rap song she has written exposing sham
official concern about systemic racism, entitled "Why's It Taking So
Long?" There were also emotional presentations by family members of two
others who have died, in separate incidents, in the custody of the
state in eastern Ontario, at the Central East Detention Centre
at September 2, 2020 event.
In response to a
postering campaign demanding action from local authorities, activists
were contacted by the office of Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie, who
agreed to meet to discuss police violence. As a result, a face-to-face
meeting was held on September 2 at the Malton Community Centre attended
by Ms. Crombie, Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown and the local Member of
Provincial Parliament Deepak Anand. At the event, family members of the
victims voiced their outrage directly to the three politicians,
especially the mayors, who listened politely and said they would gladly
make a supportive public statement. However, the mayors refused to
include any point condemning the police killings, citing their belief
that it would jeopardize their positions on the Peel Police Services
Board. The politicians also declined to make any statement agreeing
that the police who are known to be killers should be held accountable
for the crimes, despite being presented with documentation from the SIU
showing there were grounds to charge the shooters without further delay.
for police accountability, Mississauga, October 20, 2020.
the face of the continued silence on the part of the SIU and the
betrayal by the mayors, a spirited rally of more than 30 activists and
residents was held during the evening rush-hour in Malton on October 20
once again demanding an end to police impunity and justice for the
victims. Picketers displayed placards reading Punish the Police Criminals!, Charge the Police Killers!, End Impunity for Police
Police Violence and Compensation for the Victims'
Families! Many passing motorists honked their horns and
raised their fists in approval, while neighbourhood residents left
their names and contact information to be informed about future
actions. The event was held on the four-month anniversary of the
shooting death of Ejaz Choudry. Members of Mr. Choudry's family joined
the protest, bringing with them their own signs including Silence is Violence.
As of October 22, the Special Investigations Unit has still
not announced the charges to be laid against the killers in the three
shooting deaths, nor has it given any reason for the unconscionable
delay. Activists and community members plan to continue raising their
voices for police accountability. Outreach is being done for another
rally in November to demand an end to impunity and to secure
compensation for the victims' families.
This article was published in
Volume 50 Number 40 - October 24, 2020
Activists and Residents in Peel Region Continue to Demand an End to Police Impunity - Lorne Gershuny