Police-Involved Deaths: in Canada

June Skeeter [They/Them/Theirs]:

Content Warning

I will be speaking about police violence today. This difficult and painful subject may be triggering to some, especially BIPOC individuals.

Land Acknowledgement

I am speaking to you today from the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples including the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), səl̓ilwətaɁɬ təməxʷ (Tsleil-Waututh), Skwxwú7mesh-ulh Temíx̱w (Squamish) Nations.

  • I encourage each of you to take a moment to explore This is by no means a definitive source, but it’s a good place to start building an understanding of the Indigenous territories, languages, and treaties in your area.

Why Police-Involved Deaths in Canada?

Candian instututions rely on the lack of race based statistics to perpetuate a narrative that systemic racism is “just an American issue” and that Canada is “better”. As a white settler and immigrant from the United States, I fell for that narrative and did not question it for years.

  • We need to have discussions about systemic racism in Canada and make it part of the public discourse in order to hold Canadian institutions accountable.

Key Points

1) Canadian police-involved deaths: How do they compare to the United States.

2) More about the data: What’s available and what’s lacking?

3) Next steps: Filling gaps and disseminating the information.

Notes on Terminology

Police Killing: A death directly resulting from police use of force. Including but not limited to: shooting, tazing, other use of force.

Police-Involved Deaths Any civilian death at the hands of police or in the custody of police. Includes police killings deaths resulting from police negligence/inaction: suicide, overdoses, medical emergencies, etc. This is broader term that is more difficult to refute on the grounds of semantics.