Canadian Police-Involved Deaths in October 2022
By the end of October 2022, at least 101 people have been killed by police or died through police actions in Canada. This after a month of October in which at least a dozen people had their lives taken through police actions. This means that almost as many people have been killed through police actions as in all of 2021, when 104 people were killed by police or died in police interventions.
September was the deadliest month of Canadian policing so far this year. At least 13 people were killed by police or died through police actions that month. This came after an August in which at least a dozen lives were taken. That matched June and April as the deadliest months of Canadian policing this year prior to September. At least 10 people were killed by police, or died through police actions, in July 2022. At least eight people were killed by police or died through police actions in Canada in May 2022. There were at least five police-involved deaths in March 2022, at least nine in February, and eight in January.
At least five people died in police custody in October, three of whom died in RCMP custody (two in British Columbia and one in Manitoba). Two of the people who died in custody had been detained in intoxication arrests. Four people were shot to death by police (two in Ontario and one in each of Alberta and Saskatchewan). One person died in a crisis intervention, one person died in a fall, and one person was killed in a police chase. RCMP were involved in four deaths, Sûreté du Québec (SQ) were involved in two. One victim has been identified as Indigenous at the time of writing and one victim has been identified as a woman.
As always, it must be said that there is no formal system of reporting police killings that is shared across departments or provinces in Canada so we can only say that at least this many lives have been taken through police actions. Again, it must be stressed that these numbers represent an undercount. They are based on police reports, reports from oversight agencies, and in some cases families.
October 1. Surrance Myers. Williams Lake RCMP. Custody.
A young Yunesit’in man, identified by family as Surrance Myers (21), died in custody of Williams Lake RCMP on October 1. The Independent Investigations Office (IIO) reports that on the evening on September 30, police stopped a man and a woman on a moped. They arrested Surrance Myers and detained him in RCMP detachment cells around 12:25 AM on October 1.
Mr. Myers was found to be in medical distress at around 4:50 AM and declared dead some time afterwards.
The victim’s father, Casey Myers, says he did not know why his son was in custody prior to his death or what happened to him while in custody.
October 7. Eeyou Eenou Police Service (EEPF). Custody.
The Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes (BEI, Independent Investigations Bureau) is investigating the death of a 25-year-old man in police custody involving the Eeyou Eenou Police Service (EEPF) and the Sûreté du Québec (SQ, provincial police). The Eeyou Eenou Police Force (EEPF) is a regional police service under the administration of the Cree Nation Government.
According to the BEI, at around 9:35 PM, EEPF police officers arrested a man who they believed was “intoxicated and disorganized.” Police officers from the SQ were also present during the arrest. The man was then transported to the EEPF station and detained in a cell.
At around 10:10 PM, the man was found unresponsive in the cell. He was later declared dead.
The BEI has assigned six investigators to examine the death. They are not an independent agency and rely on other police forces for their investigations.
Numerous people have died in police custody following intoxication arrests in Canada. This includes people who were experiencing health problems who police assumed were intoxicated.
October 9. Sûreté du Québec. Saint-Ferdinand. Crisis Action.
A 25-year-old man died several hours after being stopped by police for alleged impaired driving. The Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes reports that the man was stopped by Sûreté du Québec shortly after midnight. He was taken to a police station and then taken home by police.
According to the BEI, police report they were called back to the man’s home in Saint-Ferdinand at around 4 AM by the man’s spouse, who said he had made suicidal comments.
Police claim that when they arrived, the man fled into a wooded area. They say that he was found “inanimate” at 7:52 AM. He was transported to hospital where he was declared dead.
Policing is not about health care or wellness. Numerous people in crisis in Canada have taken their own lives when confronted with the violence of police rather than health care supports.
Five BEI investigators have been assigned to investigate the death.
October 9-10. York Regional Police. Shooting.
A 25-year-old was shot and killed by York Regional Police at an event center in Vaughan, north of Toronto. The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) reports that York police were called to Universal EventSpace at 6250 Vaughan Valley Boulevard at around 11:50 PM on October 9, regarding claims of “a man inside with a firearm.” At the scene there was some type of “an interaction” between officers and a man, and one officer shot the man. He was transported to hospital where he died in the next morning.
The SIU has designated one subject official and five witness officials in this case. They have assigned four investigators and two forensic investigators.
October 10. Alberta RCMP. Shooting.
RCMP officers shot and killed a 30-year-old man on Highway 16 at Highway 824 in Strathcona County, southeast of Edmonton. The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) reports that RCMP received a report of a white BMW driving erratically on Highway 21 near New Sarepta, Alberta, around 5:30 PM. Strathcona RCMP located the vehicle in a ditch, where two people were helping the lone occupant. Officers claim they approached the occupant and an “altercation occurred where officers discharged their firearms, and the male suspect was shot.” The man died at the scene.
Earlier that morning, at around 3:00 AM, an RCMP officer had reportedly exchanged gunfire with the occupant of a white BMW while conducting patrols on Highway 16 at Highway 824 in Strathcona County. That vehicle had left the scene.
ASIRT is investigating whether the two shooting incidents are related and is examining the circumstances of both shootings by police.
The earlier shooting had been reported by ASIRT and RCMP but neither provided any information about the situation even hours later. The killing was only reported the next day. This raises some questions about the transparency of reporting.
October 11. South Simcoe Police Service. Innisfil, Ontario. Shooting.
A 23-year-old man shot and killed in a shootout with South Simcoe Police Service officers in Innisfil on the evening of October 11. The Special Investigations Unit reports that officers were called to a residence in the area of 25th Sideroad and 9th Line regarding a disturbance at around 8:00 PM. Inside the residence, there was allegedly an exchange of gunfire between the man and officers. The man was pronounced dead at the scene. Two officers were taken to separate hospitals where they died.
The SIU has assigned six investigators and three forensic investigators to examine the case.
October 13. Toronto Police Service. Fall.
The SIU is investigating the death of a 32-year-old man in Toronto’s Jane-Finch Neighborhood on the evening of October 13. They report that at approximately 4:30 PM, Toronto Police Service (TPS) officers were called to a high-rise apartment at Jane Street and Finch Avenue West regarding a man throwing objects from a balcony to the ground below.
Three officers arrived and allegedly attempted to negotiate with the man. Three additional officers from the Emergency Task Force arrived and allegedly attempted to negotiate with the man from an adjoining apartment.
At some point during the course of negotiations, the man fell from the apartment window to the ground below. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The SIU has assigned four investigators and two forensic investigators to examine the case. Six witness officials have been designated.
October 15-18. Edmonton Police Service. Custody.
A 22-year-old woman died after being in police custody on October 15. The reported timeline raises some serious questions.
According to ASIRT, the Edmonton Police Service claims that officers responded to a call from EMS for assistance with a woman who was believed to be intoxicated at a business in the area of 34 Avenue and Gateway Boulevard. Police claim they put the woman in handcuffs until EMS arrived. On arrival, EMS assessed the woman, but police claim she declined transport to the hospital.
Police then claim that the woman’s family said they were going to take her to hospital in their own vehicle. At some point police say she became uncooperative. Then EPS claim that the family waved down police to help take the woman to hospital, at around 11:47 PM. Officers handcuffed the woman again and put her in the back seat of a police vehicle to transport her to hospital. When police arrived with the woman at the hospital, a bit after midnight, they claim the woman was unresponsive and not breathing.
Hospital staff took over the woman’s care at 12:08 AM on October 16. Police report that she died in hospital on October 18.
No other details have been released. It has not been clarified when EMS arrived relative to the call to police and the arrival of police. It has also not been clarified why the family waved down a police vehicle if police were already on scene and had handcuffed the woman once.
October 24. RCMP. Selkirk, Manitoba. Custody.
A man died in an RCMP jail cell in Selkirk, Manitoba on October 24.
The Independent Investigation Unit (IIU) reports that the man was taken into custody under the Intoxicated Persons Detention Act around 3:15 AM on October 23 and detained in a cell at the station north of Winnipeg.
While in custody, police claim that “other matters regarding the man came to light” and his detention was extended. Police have not provided any additional details on this.
Shortly after 7 PM on the 24th, officers responded to an alarm in the man’s cell. He was found unresponsive and taken to Selkirk Regional Health Centre where he was declared dead.
Intoxication arrests are often deadly in Canada, as I have detailed previously.
October 26. Sûreté du Québec. Lingwick. Police Chase.
A man on a motorcycle was killed in a police pursuit in Lingwick, Quebec, on October 26. The chase was undertaken by Sûreté du Québec (SQ) officers in the Eastern Townships during the early morning, according to the Bureau of Independent Investigators.
The SQ claims that officers noticed a motorcycle driven on Route 108 in Bury at about 1:30 AM with a taillight out. Police claim they followed the motorcycle for several minutes before attempting to intercept it and a pursuit was undertaken.
The BEI report that at 5:39 AM, a resident contacted 911 to report a man on the ground near a motorcycle on Route 257, in Lingwick. The 32-year-old man was later pronounced dead.
The BEI has assigned five investigators to investigate the death. The BEI is not an independent agency and officers from the Quebec City police force will take part in the investigation.
October 27. Ronnie Glen Herman. Saskatoon Police Service. Shooting.
A Saskatoon Police Service (SPS) officer shot and killed Ronnie Glen Herman, a 36-year-old from La Loche, Saskatchewan, on October 27.
Police claim officers responded around 5:45 PM to a home near 35th Street West and Avenue E North after a report of someone firing a gun. Patrol and tactical support unit officers entered the building in the Mayfair neighborhood when they claim they were “confronted by the armed male suspect when the fatal shooting occurred.”
Officers had cordoned off the surrounding block, and there was a large police presence in the area. The lockdown lasted until 7:30 PM. Witnesses report seeing police run through yards and jumping fences and decks, confronting Herman both inside and outside the house. They report hearing shouting, and the sounds of multiple gunshots.
There is no independent investigative unit in Saskatchewan so the Regina Police Service will investigate the killing along with the Saskatchewan Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT) in a strictly observer role. The SPS also requested two independent observers.
October 27-29. Prince Rupert RCMP. Custody.
A man died in RCMP custody on October 29, in Prince Rupert, British Columbia. The IIO reports that on October 27, a man was arrested and detained in detachment cells at about 12:05 AM on October 28. At approximately 3:40 AM on October 29, the man requested medical assistance and Emergency Health Services transported him to the hospital. He went into medical distress later that morning and was subsequently pronounced dead.