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 trial judge had decided the mandatory minimum sentence of four years in prison would be cruel and unusual punishment in his case.[1] However, that decision was overturned by the Court of Appeal, which imposed the minimum sentence of four years in prison. The Court of Appeal`s decision was upheld on further appeal to the Supreme Court.
  • 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]
  • March 10, 2020: Allan Adam, chief of Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, was stopped by RCMP officers in Fort McMurray regarding an expired licence plate. The officer and Adam argue, and Adam swore at the officer. When the officer tried to arrest Adam's wife, Freda Courtoreille, Adam pushed the officer. The officer again spoke with Courtoreille, during which "Adam jumps from the vehicle and yells at the officer. The officer tells him to return and grabs his left arm, as if he is about to arrest him." A second officer arrived at the scene, tackled Adam, punched his head, put him in a headlock, and told him not to resist officers. The RCMP ruled the arresting officers' actions "did not meet the threshold for an external investigation."[3] Adam was charged for resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer, and was released from custody the next day.[4] Charges against Adam were later dropped.[3]

British Columbia[edit]

  • 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.
  • 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]
  • 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.[7]
  • July 18, 2015: Hudson Brooks was involved in an altercation with 2 police officers and was shot 9 times and killed by constable Elizabeth Cucheran. Brooks was unarmed and clad only in boxer shorts at the time.[8]
  • 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.[9]
  • In January 20, 2020: Surveillance footage shows Mona Wang, a 20 year old nursing student (who was seemingly unconscious) being dragged down the halls of her student apartment complex in Kelowna by RCMP officer Cpl. Lacy Browning. Footage also shows Browning stepping on Wang's head. Wang was having mental health issues and her boyfriend called the RCMP to do a wellness check. When Browning arrived, Wang had ingested wine and medication and had self-harmed with a box cutter. Wang alleges Browning used excessive force during the check, at one point kicking Wang in the stomach and punching her and leaving her with bruises on her face, while shouting at her "to stop being so dramatic." Wang has filed a civil suit against the RCMP. [10][11]


February 08,2021 CST. J Kim wrongfully identified a young man riding his bike in the early hours in of the morning as a suspected armed robber. After complying with the officer’s demands CST. J. Kim smashed the young man into the concrete causing bones to break in his face. The young man was later released by RCMP to the care of Surrey Memorial Hospital when they realized he was not the person they were after. A statement from CST. J. Kim has yet to be issued. The victim is reaching out to media outlets and seeking legal action against the offending officer.


  • 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.[12] This violent action resulted in many injuries and the deaths of two strikers. The day came to be known as "Bloody Saturday".[13]
  • 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.[14]
  • Aug 9, 2017: Winnipeg officers used excessive force on Richard Kakish during an arrest. Kakish later died days later due to his spleen being ruptured, broken ribs and a head injury from police kicking/punching him repeatedly. Inquest called for in 2018 to determine who is to be held accountable.[15]
  • April 9, 2020: Jason Collins was shot by Winnipeg officers at his own home. Police responded to a domestic violence with gunman 911 call that originated from Collins' home. On arriving, the police heard a woman scream in distress and found Collins brandishing a gun. Police left the house, and 40 minutes after their initial arrival an officer shot Collins while he confronted them from his front door. [16]


  • December 8, 1988: 17-year-old Michael Wade Lawson was shot to death by two Peel Regional Police Constables. Anthony Melaragni No. 1192 and Darren Longpre No. 1139 were both charged with second-degree murder and aggravated assault after a preliminary hearing; both were later acquitted by a jury. The officers claimed that the stolen vehicle driven by Lawson was approaching the officers head-on in a threatening manner, and they then discharged their firearms. [17]An autopsy conducted by the Ontario Coroner's Office showed that the unarmed teenager was struck by a hollow-point bullet to the back of the head. This type of bullet was considered illegal at the time, as hollow-point bullets were not authorized for use by police officers in Ontario.[18]
  • 2009: 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.[19]
  • 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,[20] being deployed in a few locations by muzzle blasts. Rubber bullets and pepper spray were also used against many protesters.[21][22] Three protestors were confirmed by the Toronto EMS to be injured during the protests,[23] and journalists were among the people who were beaten.[24][25] 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.[26]
  • 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.[27][28]
  • 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.[29]
  • 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.[30]
  • July 2017: Toronto Police officer Constable Michael Theriault was charged with assault for the December 2016 assault of Dafonte Miller, a 19-year old Black male, with a pipe that led to removal of his eye.[31] In 2020, the court found Theriault guilty and sentenced him to 9 months in prison, along with 12 months probation afterwards.[32]


  • c. 1976 – c. 2000: Members of the Saskatoon Police Service engaged in what have been called "starlight tours", where officers would take an Indigenous person to the edge of the city in the dead of winter and abandon them there with little to no clothing.[33] The earliest known case happened in 1976[34] and the latest known case happened in 2000.[35]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ ""Killer officer walks free", by The Calgary Herald". Archived from the original on June 29, 2015.
  2. ^ "'If they are saying this guy deserved that? Not a chance,' says eyewitness to Calgary police altercation - CBC News".
  3. ^ a b McDermott, Vincent (June 25, 2020). "Charges Dropped Against Chief Allan Adam After Release of Dashcam Footage Showing RCMP Officer Tackling, Punching Him". Edmonton Journal.
  4. ^ "Northern Alberta First Nations chief alleges he was beaten by RCMP". CBC. Retrieved 2020-06-24.
  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. ^ Transit cops Bruce Shipley, Alfred Wong guilty in assault of Jordan Dyck, CBC News, May 29, 2015.
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ Nair, Roshini (June 24, 2020). "Nursing student in civil suit against RCMP says wellness checks need to change". CBC News. Retrieved June 29, 2020.
  11. ^ "RCMP officer seen stepping on student's head following a wellness check". CBC News. June 24, 2020. Retrieved June 29, 2020.
  12. ^ Francis, Daniel (1984). "1919: The Winnipeg General Strike". History Today. 38: 4–8.
  13. ^ Bloody Saturday, CBC Television documentary
  14. ^ "Manitoba inquest questions seizure of clothing from man who died in custody". CBC. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  15. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  16. ^ Hatherly, Diana (April 11, 2020). "Family of man fatally shot by Winnipeg police says he overcame 'troubled past' to care for kids". CBC.
  17. ^ Rosella, Louie (2015-07-09). "50TH ANNIVERSARY: Black teen killed by two white cops in 1988". Retrieved 2020-06-02.
  18. ^ "ANTI_ BLACK RACISM IN CANADA". 2006-05-05. Archived from the original on 2006-05-05. Retrieved 2020-06-02.
  19. ^ Judge Slams Police, Acquits Family Of Assault, Huffington Post, 2013-10-23
  20. ^ Kenneth Kidd (2010-06-27). "Tear gas fired in downtown rampage". Toronto. Archived from the original on 30 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-27.
  21. ^ "G20 — Toronto 2010". Archived from the original on 24 May 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-27.
  22. ^ 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.
  23. ^ "Toronto G20 protest turns violent, city venues in lockdown". Archived from the original on 28 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-27.
  24. ^ Goodyear, Sheena (June 27, 2010). "Canadian journalist arrested, reportedly beaten". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 27 June 2010.
  25. ^ "Police beat journalist covering G20: report". CBC News. 2010-06-28. Retrieved 26 October 2010.
  26. ^ Hasham, Alyshah (September 12, 2013). "G20 assault trial: Guilty verdict for officer who hit Adam Nobody". Toronto Star. Retrieved October 20, 2013.
  27. ^ Barrie police officer guilty of assault in beating at mall, CBC News, June 21, 2013.
  28. ^ Shopping mall assault lands officer a 1 year sentence, CBC News, a October 17, 2013.
  29. ^ "Judge Awards $27,000 To Man Beaten In Police Carding Incident". CBC News. May 12, 2015.
  30. ^ "Witness describes fatal confrontation between Abdirahman Abdi and police". CBC News. July 26, 2016.
  31. ^ "Internal report on Dafonte Miller police assault leaves 'unanswered questions,' Mayor Tory says". Toronto Star. July 25, 2017.
  32. ^ "Off-duty Toronto cop sentenced to nine months in jail in assault of Black man". 2020-11-05. Retrieved 2020-11-07.
  33. ^ Brass, Mervin (2004-07-02). "Starlight Tours". CBC News Online. Retrieved 2016-04-01.
  34. ^ "Saskatoon police chief admits starlight cruises are not new". Windspeaker. Aboriginal Multimedia Society of Alberta. July 1, 2003. Retrieved 15 February 2010.
  35. ^ 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.