By André Faust
When we think of police shootings, we immediately think of State Police killing black civilians. As Canadians, we view the actions of American police shooting American blacks when the office life or health was not in immediate danger as unjustifiable.
In Canada we have a similar situation with our police officers, whether RCMP, provincial or municipal police. Police killing civilians who pose no immediate threat to the offers life or health appear to be a common occurrence here in Canada. While the numbers are significantly lower in Canada then they are in the United States, when you make a population comparison between United States and Canada the numbers are high when you look at the number of civilians killed by police per capita.
There are undoubtedly situations that police officers find themselves that have no other options available but to critically injure the person. In these situations, it is justifiable to take a human life.
There is a plethora of Canadian case law that defines what the criteria are for using self-defence as a defence.
“If you had a reasonable belief this person will seriously hurt you, then you can justify killing them,” you also would have to be in a situation where “if you don’t do something you’re going to be seriously hurt or killed.”
It appears that there are two different standards that are applied to what constitute justifiable homicide for the police, and the other what constitute justifiable homicide for the layman. For the police officer the only requirement is that all situations have the potential of serious injury or death may result. That is enough for the police to justify killing a civilian. The layman on the other hand the situation has to be more than just potential, it has to be based on the balance of probability that injury to self or death is highly probable if lethal action is not taken.
In 1987, Anthony Griffin from Montreal was shot and killed by Constable Allan Gosset while fleeing. Gusset was found not guilty of manslaughter. In Ontario, Lawson Wade, was shot and killed by two officers while he was riding in a stolen car. The two officers were found not guilty of manslaughter and aggravated assault. Suazo, Martin Omar of Quebec was shot in the head by the police while kneeling down to be handcuffed.
Suazo, was arrested on suspicion of shoplifting a pair of blue jeans, the officer responsible was exonerated for the killing of Suazo.
Recently in Dawson Creek, Anonymous activist James Daniel McIntyre was gunned down by the RCMP for having a knife in his possession, what is interesting McIntyre was not the one that the police were called for. He was just a protester wearing a Guy Fawkes mask.
In summary, there are two laws, one for the police and the other for the average citizen. The moral of the story is that if you are in the police cross hairs do not scratch your left testicle because that will be interpreted as a hostile act endangering the police’s life and the police officer will be justified in killing you.