Last week Canadian police officers shot and killed two indigenous people, Jason Collins and Eishia Hudson, and one Black person, D’Andre Campbell. While Canadian media is quick to identify patterns of racial violence in the United States, there has been no such coverage for Campbell, Hudson, and Collins, three people killed by police in three days. White supremacy and state violence in Canada persists, and coverage of the current COVID-19 health crisis, which is said to impact us all, obscures the specific ongoing crises of Black and Indigenous health, safety, and survival.
In perhaps the most high-profile police killing in Canadian history, Toronto police officer James Forcillo shot and killed 18 year old Sammy Yatim, a Syrian-born immigrant, in July of 2013. Since Yatim’s murder, at least 26 people who were Black, Indigenous, or belonged to another racialized group have been killed by Canadian police, or have died in their custody. Our fight against police brutality needs to be informed by those whom police have taken from us—we need to know their names and honour their lives.
This memorial is inspired by the “Fact Sheet on Police Violence against the African Community in Canada“, a project by labour organizer and educator Dr. Ajamu Nangwaya, who last updated his work in 2013. In keeping Nangwaya’s work, I describe all people of African descent as “Afrikan”, regardless of their nationality or ethnicity.
I identify people from specific First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities by their specific nations in all cases where such information is available; otherwise I cite the person as “Indigenous”. Each name contains a link to a news story with more information.
This memorial can never be complete, nor can it do justice to the memories of those taken from us by police. Still, we honour and remember those taken from us by racism and state violence. We offer love to their families, friends, and communities. We also fight, as James Wilt has written recently in response to police violence in Winnipeg, “to ensure such killings never happens again, by abolishing the police and replacing it with truly life-sustaining services that build a better world for all.”
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Jason Collins, 36, an Indigenous man, was shot and killed in Winnipeg by unnamed Winnipeg police officers on April 9, 2020. Police responded to a domestic violence call, and claim they left the house after arriving to help de-escalate the situation. Police shot Collins 40 minutes after they arrived at his home, after saying he walked out the front door and threatened them.
Eishia Husdon, a 16-year-old indigenous girl, was shot and killed in Winnipeg, Manitoba by unnamed Winnipeg Police officers on April 8, 2020. Police said they were responding to a robbery of a liquor store by several teenagers, whom they pursued in a car before opening fire. Eishia’s father William Hudson was a close friend of Jason Collins, the 36 year old man shot dead by Winnipeg police only 12 hours after they killed his teenage daughter.
D’Andre Campbell, 26, an Afrikan man, was shot and killed in Brampton, Ontario by an unnamed Peel Regional police officer on April 7, 2020. Campbell, who lived with mental health issues, called police for help. Police entered Campbell’s his home, and family members say two police each used a taser on him, then one officer shot him with a handgun while he was on the ground.
Randy Cochrane, 30, of Fisher River Cree Nation, died in Winnipeg in the custody of unnamed Winnipeg police officers on July 14, 2019. Doctors say Cochrane died of a heart attack. Witnesses say they saw Cochrane running through residential backyards while shouting for help while being chased by police. His family says he died in handcuffs.
Sean Thompson, 30, of Little Saskatchewan First Nation and Pinaymootang First Nation, died in the custody of unnamed Winnipeg police officers on June 26, 2019. Police say he went into medical distress after being arrested. Thompson’s family say police did not notify them of his death for 30 hours. When they were finally able to see his body, the family saw numerous injuries to his wrists and knees.
Machuar Madut, 43, an Afrikan man who immigrated to Canada from South Sudan, was shot and killed in his Winnipeg, Manitoba apartment building by an unnamed Winnipeg police officer on February 23, 2019. Madut’s family said he lived with mental health issues, and had recently learned he would be evicted. Police said they had no option but to shoot Madut after confronting him with a hammer in his hand.
Greg Ritchie, 30, of Saugeen First Nation, was shot and killed in Ottawa, Ontario by Ottawa police officers Thanh Tran and Daniel Vincelette on January 31, 2019. His family said Ritchie, who lived with mental health issues, was on his way to a local pharmacy to pick up his medication when police shot him. Police say Ritchie was carrying a stick with a rock attached to it. One officer shot Ritchie twice with a taser. Both officers then fired a total of nine times at Ritchie, hitting him three times.
Chad Williams, a 26 year old Indigenous man, was shot and killed in Winnipeg, Manitoba by a unnamed Winnipeg police officers on January 11, 2019. Police chased Williams after saying he fit the description of a man wanted for domestic assault. Police said Williams had a hatchet in one hand, and repeatedly shot him with a taser. Police then shot Williams six times with their handguns.
Jaskamal Singh Lail, 25, an Indo-Canadian man, was shot and killed in Calgary by an unnamed Calgary Police officer on August 31, 2018. His family said he lived with schizophrenia, and struggled for years to find support within the health care system. On the night they took his life, police saw Lail driving in circles in his vehicle. Although they believed Lail was in mental health crisis, police left him alone. Hours later they were called to Lail’s residence a noise complaint, where they confronted the young man, shot him with a plastic bullet, then continued shooting with live rounds.
Nicholas Gibbs, 23, an Afrikan man, was shot and killed in Montréal, Québec by an unnamed Montréal police officer on August 21, 2018. Gibbs’ family said he lived with mental health issues. Police shot Gibbs five times, including once in the back, after claiming they approached him to break up a fight between Gibbs and another man.
Olando Brown, an Afrikan man, 32, died in Barrie, Ontario the custody of unnamed Barrie Police officers on June 22, 2018. Police had arrested Brown during a traffic stop and shot him four times with a Taser. Police claim that Brown died after trying to swallow drugs that were in his possession after his arrest. Police covered the camera inside the room where they were searching Brown. SIU investigators were not able to see what happened to Brown in those moments, and accepted the police’s version of events.
Josephine Pelletier, 33, of the Cree Nation and Salteaux First Nation, was shot and killed in Calgary by an unnamed Calgary Police officer on May 17, 2018. Pelletier’s formal education ended at age 12, and she spent the vast majority of her teenage and adult years in jails and prisons, and never received proper support for addictions. Police confronted Pelletier and her teenage son inside a basement apartment, shot the boy with rubber bullets, then shot and killed Pelletier with live ammunition.
Brydon Whitstone, 22, of Onion Lake Cree Nation was shot and killed by RCMP officer Jerry Abbott in North Battleford, Saskatchewan on October 21, 2017. Police claimed they believed Whitstone was reaching for a weapon when they shot him in a stolen car that evening, but the investigation found that Whitstone was not armed. Police aid they began chasing Whitstone and a friend in their vehicle after receiving a report of someone shooting at people from a car. Police later acknowledged this report was not related to Whitstone.
Pierre Coriolan, 58, an Afrikan man who immigrated to Canada from Haiti, was shot and killed in Montréal, Québec by Montreal police officer Jimmy-Carl Michon on June 27, 2017. Coriolan was living with mental health issues and had just learned he would be evicted. Coriolan was sitting in his apartment when police arrived and confronted him. Police hot Coriolan with a taser and rubber bullets after claiming he was armed with a knife and a screwdriver.
Abdirahman Abdi, 37, an Afrikan man who immigrated to Canada from Somalia, was fatally assaulted in Ottawa, Ontario by Ottawa police officers officers Daniel Montsion and Dave Weir in front of his apartment building on July 24, 2016. Abdi, who lived with his family in the apartment, was living with mental health issues. Weir described Abdi as an imminent threat to his own safety, even though he chased Abdi for 250 meters from a coffee shop to his front door. Montsion arrived and repeatedly punched Abdi in the head with a pair of reinforced gloves that are not authorized for police use.
Bony Jean-Pierre, 46, an Afrikan man, was shot in Montréal, Québec by Montréal Police officer Christian Gilbert on March 31, 2016. Jean-Pierre was running from police during a raid, and attempted to climb out a second floor window. Gilbert saw Jean-Pierre climbing out the window and shot him in the head rubber bullet. Jean Pierre fell from the window, and died of his injuries in hospital several days later.
Kwasi Skene-Peters, 21, an Afrikan man, was shot and killed in Toronto by two unnamed Toronto police officers on July 25, 2015. Although police were surveilling Skene-Peter for hours and claimed he had a handgun stashed in his car, they allowed him to walk through a parking lot to his car before approaching him and fatally shooting him.
Andrew Loku, 45, an Afrikan man who immigrated to Canada from South Sudan, was shot and killed in the hallway of his apartment building in Toronto, Ontario by Toronto police officer Andrew Doyle on July 5, 2015. Loku lived with mental health issues in a unit leased to him by the Canadian Mental Health Association. Police were called to the apartment after Loku had an argument with a neighbour. Loku was in the hallway with his friend Robin Hicks a police officer entered with her drawn. Another officer arrived and shot Loku twice within seconds of seeing him with a hammer in one hand.
Abdurahman Ibrahim Hassan, 39, an Afrikan man, was killed in Peterborough, Ontario by a Peterborough Police officer and an Ontario Provincial Police officer, on June 11, 2015. Hassan, a refugee from Somalia who came to Canada in 1993, lived with schizophrenia. Hassan had been held in immigration detention for three years, and had become progressively more ill. On the night of his death, police entered his room in a Peterborough hospital and restrained him by pinning him to his bed and using a towel to cover his mouth.
René Gallant, 45, an Afrikan man, was shot and killed in Montréal, Québec by Montréal Police officer Daniel Touchette on May 31, 2015. Police responded to a call regarding domestic violence and shot Gallant in the presence of his partner.
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Marc Ekamba-Boekwa, 22, and Afrikan man, was shot and killed in Mississauga, Ontario, during a confrontation with Peel Regional Police officers Jennifer White, Adam Paiment, and Branden Dary on March 20, 2015. Police shot at Ekamba-Boekwa 18 times, hitting him with eleven bullets. Police also arrested his mother, Boketsu Boekwa, who lives with metal health issues, and charged her with several crimes, including conspiracy to kill police officers and other charges.
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Phuong Na (Tony) Du, 51, who immigrated to Canada from Vietnam, was shot and killed by an unnamed Vancouver Police Department officer on November 22, 2014. Du’s family said he was living with schizophrenia and taking medication for his illness. Police confronted Du in the street and shot him multiple times within 25 seconds of their arrival on the scene.
Jermaine Carby, 33, an Afrikan man, was shot and killed in Brampton, Ontario by Peel Regional Police officer Ryan Reid on September 24, 2014. Carby was living with mental health issues, including depression, and had been in hospital seeking treatment just days before Reid killed him. Police claimed Carby brandished a knife and threatened police officers during a traffic stop, but SIU investigators didn’t recover a knife on the scene. Hours after the killing, a Peel Regional police officer gave SIU investigators a paper bag containing a knife—the officer claimed he had removed it from the scene after Carby was killed.
Nicholas Thorne-Belance, 5, an Afikan boy, was struck in Longueuil, Québec by Sûrete du Québec officer Patrick Ouellet on February 13, 2014. Ouellet was driving 134 km/h on a 50km/hr residential street zone when he struck a vehicle carrying Thorne-Belance in the backseat. Thorne-Belance died in hospital days later. His sister was also injured in the crash. Police initially cleared Ouellet of any wrongdoing, and he was only charged after public demonstrations led to an independent investigation. Ouellet was convicted of dangerous driving and causing Thorne-Belance’s death—he was sentenced to eight months in jail.
Alain Magloire, 41, and Afrikan man, was shot and killed in Montréal, Québec by an unnamed Montréal Police officer on February 3, 2014. Magloire was homeless at the time and was living with mental illness. Magloire went to hospital more than once in the months leading up to his death, and asked for help from a social worker or psychologist. His family members say he should have been offered treatment.
Ian Pryce, 30, an Afrikan man, was shot and killed in Toronto by Toronto police officers Robert Monteiro and Thomas Mackenzie on November 13, 2013. Pryce lived with schizophrenia. Police say they were executing a warrant for Pryce’s arrest, and shot him after confronting him with a pellet gun in his hands.
Sammy Yatim, 18, who immigrated to Canada from Syria four year earlier, was shot and killed in Toronto, Ontario by Toronto Police constable James Forcillo on July 27, 2013. Yatim was alone on a streetcar when Forcillo approached shot him eight times. Before the police arrived, Yatim, who was in distress and holding a knife, had told the streetcar driver he wanted to speak with his father.