QUEEN’S PARK — The Official Opposition NDP’s Anti-Racism Critic and Black Caucus Chair Laura Mae Lindo, Community Safety and Correctional Services Critic Kevin Yarde and Attorney General Critic Gurratan Singh released the following statement in response to Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU)’s decision in the police shooting of Jamal Francique, a Black man who lived with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder:
“Jamal Francique was loved, valued and should still be here with us. In addition to enduring the anguish of losing a loved one, Jamal’s family and his community have been forced to grapple with a toothless, feckless police oversight system that continues to fail Black, Indigenous and racialized Ontarians, as well as those living with mental health issues.
Jamal Francique’s death and the SIU’s findings are not isolated events, but part of a deeply entrenched and ongoing pattern that includes D’Andre Campbell, Korchinski-Paquet and far too many other Black Ontarians, and people living with mental illness.
Time and again, Black Ontarians, community leaders and legal experts have been clear – Ontario’s police oversight process does not meet even the bare minimum of accountability, transparency and independence that would be required for it to be remotely effective. The officer who shot Jamal Francique has still not been identified by Peel Regional Police or the SIU, with the SIU noting that although they interviewed the officer for their investigation, he declined to submit his notes.
Without a complete overhaul of the SIU and police oversight in Ontario, there can be no lasting justice for Jamal Francique and his loved ones, and the public will continue to lose what little confidence they have remaining that police will be held accountable in this province.
The only way to finally break this catastrophic pattern that continues to result in the needless deaths of Black, Indigenous and racialized Ontarians, is to overhaul our broken justice and oversight systems and fundamentally change how our province keeps folks safe and healthy, and holds law enforcement accountable.”