Most Canadians killed in police encounters had mental health or substance abuse issues

Police - Gun & Cuffssource: CBC News
published: 5 April 2018

More than 460 people have died in encounters with police across Canada since the year 2000, and a substantial majority suffered from mental health problems or symptoms of drug abuse, a CBC News investigation has found.

No government agency or police force maintains national statistics on police-involved fatalities, but a comprehensive database assembled by CBC shows that 70 per cent of the people who died struggled with mental health issues or substance abuse or both.

A further breakdown shows 42 per cent of those who died were mentally distressed, while 45 per cent were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

One of the victims was O’Brien Christopher Reid, who was killed in Toronto in June 2004. Reid, who was mentally ill and afraid of police, was walking shirtless through a Toronto park carrying a knife when officers confronted him and used pepper spray to try to subdue him. He ran, and during the pursuit, was shot in the back and died.

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B.C. has country’s highest rate of police-involved deaths, groundbreaking CBC data reveals
5 April 2018