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

151 crashes in Rossland in 2019: ICBC data

Columbia Avenue, Red Mountain Road were roads with most crashes during the year

All Mercer Celgar workers in Castlegar return to work

At least 215 of the workers were laid off during a temporary mill shutdown in July

No clear option to help more Rosslanders access recreation facilities in Trail: Report

Rossland residents have had to pay double the cost to use the facilities in recent years

New waste disposal contract comes into effect in Rossland on August 1

The price for a small and large bag sticker will double under new contract

Nelson’s American sister city faces COVID-19 culture war

In Sandpoint, Idaho, wearing a mask is about Black Lives Matter, gun rights, and COVID-19

Canucks ride momentum into NHL playoff series against defending Stanley Cup champs

PREVIEW: Vancouver opens against St. Louis on Wednesday

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

One dead as fish boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

Landlord takes front door, windows after single B.C. mom late with rent

Maple Ridge mom gets help from community generosity and government

42 more people test positive for COVID-19 in B.C.

The province has recorded no new deaths in recent days

Joe Biden selects California Sen. Kamala Harris as running mate

Harris and Biden plan to deliver remarks Wednesday in Wilmington

Lawsuit launched after Florida child handcuffed, booked and briefly jailed

Suit alleges “deliberate indifference” to what should have been handled as a behavioural issue

Russia approves vaccine, Putin hopes to begin mass production

Critic calls decision to proceed without thorough testing ‘dangerous and grossly immoral’

Most Read