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

Hostility at Shuswap restaurant ignites campaign calling for respect

“If you can’t follow the rules, then stay home,” says BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association

Morning Start: The Exorcist film set was haunted

Your morning start for Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020

Salmon Arm pickleball club’s request for defibrillator will go to city budget

City council decides to forward request for Klahani Park to 2021 budget deliberations

RCMP looking for witnesses to man punching woman in head in North Shuswap

Incident occurred July 15 on Squilax Anglemont Road

Chase RCMP report man pepper-sprayed while inquiring about paddle boards

Victim suspected two people stopped in North Shuswap in the early morning hours were thieves

STANDING TALL: For some, B.C.’s forest industry is the best office in the world

A look at the forest sector in B.C. – and those hoping for the best – amid mill curtailments

Doctor slain in Alberta medical clinic was devoted father, husband

Red Deer doctors on edge after attack on colleague who had two young daughters

Temporary Kelowna COVID-19 testing site closes as case numbers stabilize

Testing is still available by appointment at Interior Health’s Urgent and Primary Care Centre

Royal B.C. Museum wants B.C.’s COVID-19 nature observations

COVID-19 Collecting For Our Time: ongoing project cataloguing province’s pandemic experience

North Okanagan park planning at play

Plans for Lumby, Enderby and Vernon parks and trails in the works

Feds offer ‘life preserver’ funds to BC Ferries as pandemic sinks revenue

For every dollar the province spends the federal government will match

Kelowna Women’s Shelter receives support for frontline workers

The Stober Foundation is donating $100,000 to hire additional frontline staff for the shelter

Shuswap history in pictures: On the wharf

Photo thought to have been taken in 1918

Okanagan rappers get Swanky with Soda CRCKRS

Salty pair Alfy’O and Memo team up to produce album

Most Read