List of incidents of police excessive use of force in Canada

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This is a list of notable incidents involving alleged or proven use of excessive force by law enforcement in Canada.


  • 1999: An RCMP constable in Alberta, Michael Ferguson, fatally shot Darren Varley after Varley attacked him in a jail cell. He was convicted of manslaughter in 2004, allowed to serve it under house arrest till 2006 and paroled in 2007, after two months in jail. The courts had decided the mandatory minimum sentence of four years in prison would be cruel and unusual punishment in his case.[1]
  • July 2016: A video shot by a bystander depicts 3 officers punching and pulling the hair of one man while they hold him down.[2]

British Columbia[edit]

  • 2007: Robert Dziekański, a Polish immigrant, was taken into police custody at Vancouver International Airport and died after being tasered a total of five times by a group of four RCMP officers. Police were heavily criticized for their handling of the incident, and the incident revived debate concerning police use of tasers in Canada. Const. Kwesi Millington, the RCMP officer who fired a Taser the night Robert Dziekanski died at Vancouver International Airport, has been sentenced to 30 months in prison for perjury and colluding with his fellow officers at an inquiry into the death.[3][4]
  • February 2012: Jordan Dyck, a passenger at a Vancouver SkyTrain station, was physically assaulted and pepper sprayed by two Metro Vancouver Transit Police officers. In 2015, the two officers were found guilty of assault.[5]
  • 1903: Special police shot and killed Frank Rogers, a popular socialist leader, while he was picketing CPR tracks in Vancouver.
  • 1918: Dominion Police Special Constable Dan Campbell shot and killed Ginger Goodwin, a popular radical who was avoiding conscription.


  • 1919: in the face of major unrest during the Winnipeg General Strike, the Royal Northwest Mounted Police charged on horseback into a crowd of strikers on June 21, beating them with clubs and firing weapons.[6] This violent action resulted in many injuries and the deaths of two strikers. The day came to be known as "Bloody Saturday".[7]


  • In 2009, a team of two police detectives got into a fight with members of the Khan family in Toronto. They brought an action against the family for assault, but the judge acquitted the Khans in 2013, stating that the officers had used excessive force and fabricated evidence.[8]
  • 2010: mass protests at the G-20 Toronto summit turned violent on June 26 when some demonstrators, used black bloc tactics, leading to widespread property damage. Tear gas was used for the first time in the history of Toronto,[9] being deployed in a few locations by muzzle blasts. Rubber bullets and pepper spray were also used against many protesters.[10][11] Three protestors were confirmed by the Toronto EMS to be injured during the protests,[12] and journalists were among the people who were beaten.[13][14] Const. Babak Andalib-Goortani, the Toronto police officer accused of using excessive force during the arrest of G20 protester Adam Nobody, has been convicted of assault with a weapon for his role.[15]
  • November 2010: In Barrie, a man was beaten by a police officer outside a mall. The beating was captured on surveillance camera, and occurred after the victim's friend broke a Christmas ornament. The officer was found guilty of assault, obstruction of justice, and fabricating evidence, and was sentenced to one year in jail and one year of probation.[16][17]
  • January 15, 2011: A man was stopped by police, punched in the face twice, and had his pockets searched by a Toronto police officer. The victim sued Toronto Police Service for assault, battery, unlawful arrest, and violation of his Charter rights. In 2015, Justice Frederick Myers awarded the victim $27,000, and stated that he, a man of African descent, was racially profiled by the officer.[18]
  • July 27, 2013: Sammy Yatim was shot eight times and killed by Toronto Police officer James Forcillo, after he brandished a knife on an empty streetcar. In 2016, Forcillo was found guilty of attempted murder and not guilty of murder.
  • November 2015: A video shot by a bystander shows police officers punching and kicking a man who screams "let me go" and "I beg you" in Toronto.[19]
  • July 2016: Abdirahman Abdi died while being arrested by the Ottawa Police. During his arrest, witnesses claim he was struck in the head with batons, pepper sprayed, and wrestled to the ground.[20]


  • 1976: an officer of the Saskatoon Police Service was disciplined for taking an aboriginal woman to the outskirts of the city and abandoning her there.[21] This later appeared to be part of a pattern of "starlight tours" causing a series of deaths of native people, known as the Saskatoon freezing deaths. In 2001 two officers involved in this practice were convicted of unlawful confinement and sentenced to eight months in prison.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Killer officer walks free", by The Calgary Herald
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Inquiry into Dziekanski's Taser-related death resumes Monday March 22, 2009.
  5. ^ Transit cops Bruce Shipley, Alfred Wong guilty in assault of Jordan Dyck, CBC News, May 29, 2015.
  6. ^ Francis, Daniel (1984). "1919: The Winnipeg General Strike". History Today. 38: 4–8. 
  7. ^ Bloody Saturday, CBC Television documentary
  8. ^ Judge Slams Police, Acquits Family Of Assault, Huffington Post, 2013-10-23
  9. ^ Kenneth Kidd (2010-06-27). "Tear gas fired in downtown rampage". Toronto: Archived from the original on 30 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-27. 
  10. ^ "G20 — Toronto 2010". Archived from the original on 24 May 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-27. 
  11. ^ the CNN Wire Staff (2010-06-27). "G8 criticizes North Korea, Iran in final statement". Archived from the original on 3 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-27. 
  12. ^ "Toronto G20 protest turns violent, city venues in lockdown". Archived from the original on 28 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-27. 
  13. ^ Goodyear, Sheena (June 27, 2010). "Canadian journalist arrested, reportedly beaten". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 27 June 2010. 
  14. ^ "Police beat journalist covering G20: report". CBC News. 2010-06-28. Retrieved 26 October 2010. 
  15. ^ Hasham, Alyshah (September 12, 2013). "G20 assault trial: Guilty verdict for officer who hit Adam Nobody". Toronto Star. Retrieved October 20, 2013. 
  16. ^ Barrie police officer guilty of assault in beating at mall, CBC News, June 21, 2013.
  17. ^ Shopping mall assault lands officer a 1 year sentence, CBC News, a October 17, 2013.
  18. ^ "Judge Awards $27,000 To Man Beaten In Police Carding Incident". CBC News. May 12, 2015. 
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Witness describes fatal confrontation between Abdirahman Abdi and police". CBC News. July 26, 2016. 
  21. ^ "Saskatoon police chief admits starlight cruises are not new". Windspeaker. Aboriginal Multimedia Society of Alberta. July 1, 2003. Retrieved 15 February 2010. 
  22. ^ Brown, DeNeen L. (November 22, 2003). "Left for dead in a Saskatchewan winter". MSN. SASKATOON, Saskatchewan. Archived from the original on Sep 15, 2005. Retrieved 27 November 2010.