List of excessive police force incidents in Canada

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This is a list of incidents involving alleged or proven police brutality 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 three officers punching and pulling the hair of one man while they hold him down.[2]

British Columbia[edit]

  • In August, 2015, at least 6 Vancouver police officers attempting to restrain Myles Gray killed him. Mr Gray suffered a fractured voice box, nasal fracture, dislocated jaw, a fractured right orbital eye socket, a fractured rib, fractured sternum, hemorrhagic injury to one testicle, and multi-focal bruising to his thigh and right arm. Getting the police to co-operate in the investigation has proven difficult as a number of the involved officers have so far refused (April 2018) to provide testimony. Since there were no other witnesses other than the six officers and no body cams it has been a challenge for the family to find out what happened. The family has launched a multimillion-dollar civil suit.[3]
  • 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.[4]
  • 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.[5][6]
  • 1918: Dominion Police Special Constable Dan Campbell shot and killed Ginger Goodwin, a popular radical who was avoiding conscription. Protest inspired the 1918 Vancouver general strike.


  • 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.[7] This violent action resulted in many injuries and the deaths of two strikers. The day came to be known as "Bloody Saturday".[8]
  • May 22, 2014: Members of the Winnipeg Police Service arrested and detained Christopher Chastellaine, 40, after receiving a complaint that he had spit on a liquor store employee. While in the police holding cell, he headbutted a police officer who tried to confiscate his clothing for evidence. Six officers restrained, handcuffed and hooded him during the ensuing physical altercation. He became unresponsive and died of a delirium-induced heart attack in hospital on May 26. An inquest into whether officers should have taken his clothes was held.[9]


  • 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.[10]
  • 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,[11] being deployed in a few locations by muzzle blasts. Rubber bullets and pepper spray were also used against many protesters.[12][13] Three protestors were confirmed by the Toronto EMS to be injured during the protests,[14] and journalists were among the people who were beaten.[15][16] 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.[17]
  • 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.[18][19]
  • 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.[20]
  • 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.
  • July 2016: Abdirahman Abdi died while being arrested by the Ottawa Police. Witnesses claim he was struck in the head with batons, pepper sprayed, and wrestled to the ground. The officer was charged in 2017 with manslaughter, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon.[21]
  • July 2017: Toronto Police officer Constable Michael Theriault was charged with assault for the December 2016 beating of Dafonte Miller, a 19-year old Black male, with a pipe that led to removal of his eye. Christian Theriault, the brother of the police officer was also charged in the assualt. John Theriault, is father to Michael and Christian Theriault and is a detective with a 30 year career with Toronto Police and a part of the professional standards unit, tasked with officer misconduct. Durham Region Police did not report the incident to the Special Investigations Unit contrary to the provincial Police Services Act.[22]
  • Jun 22, 2018: Barrie Police officers tasered a man to death by repeatedly taser in him while trying to detain him.[23]


  • 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.[24] 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.[25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Killer officer walks free", by The Calgary Herald Archived 2015-06-29 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "'If they are saying this guy deserved that? Not a chance,' says eyewitness to Calgary police altercation - CBC News".
  3. ^
  4. ^ Transit cops Bruce Shipley, Alfred Wong guilty in assault of Jordan Dyck, CBC News, May 29, 2015.
  5. ^ "Mother of son killed by Taser 'so happy' RCMP officer will get prison time for perjury - CBC News".
  6. ^ Inquiry into Dziekanski's Taser-related death resumes Monday March 22, 2009.
  7. ^ Francis, Daniel (1984). "1919: The Winnipeg General Strike". History Today. 38: 4–8.
  8. ^ Bloody Saturday, CBC Television documentary
  9. ^ "Manitoba inquest questions seizure of clothing from man who died in custody". CBC. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  10. ^ Judge Slams Police, Acquits Family Of Assault, Huffington Post, 2013-10-23
  11. ^ Kenneth Kidd (2010-06-27). "Tear gas fired in downtown rampage". Toronto: Archived from the original on 30 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-27.
  12. ^ "G20 — Toronto 2010". Archived from the original on 24 May 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-27.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ "Toronto G20 protest turns violent, city venues in lockdown". Archived from the original on 28 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-27.
  15. ^ Goodyear, Sheena (June 27, 2010). "Canadian journalist arrested, reportedly beaten". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 27 June 2010.
  16. ^ "Police beat journalist covering G20: report". CBC News. 2010-06-28. Retrieved 26 October 2010.
  17. ^ Hasham, Alyshah (September 12, 2013). "G20 assault trial: Guilty verdict for officer who hit Adam Nobody". Toronto Star. Retrieved October 20, 2013.
  18. ^ Barrie police officer guilty of assault in beating at mall, CBC News, June 21, 2013.
  19. ^ Shopping mall assault lands officer a 1 year sentence, CBC News, a October 17, 2013.
  20. ^ "Judge Awards $27,000 To Man Beaten In Police Carding Incident". CBC News. May 12, 2015.
  21. ^ "Witness describes fatal confrontation between Abdirahman Abdi and police". CBC News. July 26, 2016.
  22. ^ "Internal report on Dafonte Miller police assault leaves 'unanswered questions,' Mayor Tory says". Toronto Star. July 25, 2017.
  23. ^
  24. ^ "Saskatoon police chief admits starlight cruises are not new". Windspeaker. Aboriginal Multimedia Society of Alberta. July 1, 2003. Retrieved 15 February 2010.
  25. ^ Brown, DeNeen L. (November 22, 2003). "Left for dead in a Saskatchewan winter". MSN. SASKATOON, Saskatchewan. Archived from the original on September 15, 2005. Retrieved 27 November 2010.