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

Evacuation alert for homes near Dry Lake fire rescinded

Fire status changed to Under Control, crews remain on site patrolling and extinguishing hot spots

Morning Start: The human body contains trace amounts of gold

Your morning start for Friday, August 7, 2020

COLUMN: Listen to those who know about COVID-19

Accurate information is essential when understanding the pandemic

Roots & Blues announces ticket giveaway ahead of online festival

The festival is streaming free online this year, but those who pre-register can win passes for 2021.

Ryga Arts Festival to include live events

Arts festival in Summerland will feature live and online performances

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

Fundraiser launched for West Kelowna family who lost their home to fire

The family’s Sunview Drive home was destroyed after an accidental fire on Aug. 6

B.C. wildfire crews have battled 111 blazes in the last seven days

Twenty-nine fires remain active, as of Friday (Aug 7)

B.C. health minister applauds Kelowna Mayor, council for COVID-19 outbreak response

‘I think they are a model of how we respond’ - said Health Minister Adrian Dix

T-Rex earns big bids at B.C. dino auction

Over 500 dino-themed lots sold to buyers from across North America

‘We don’t make the rules’: Okanagan pub owner says staff harassed over pandemic precautions

‘If you have six people plus a baby, guess what? That’s seven’ - West Kelowna Kelly O’Bryan’s owner

Remembering Brent Carver: A legend of Broadway who kept his B.C. roots strong

Over the years, the Cranbrook thespian earned his place as one of Canada’s greatest actors

Vernon social justice group rallies to raise awareness for human trafficking victims

Indigenous women make up 4 per cent of Canadian population, 50 per cent of trafficking victims

Statistics Canada says country gained 419,000 jobs in July

National unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July, down from the 12.3 per cent recorded in June

Most Read