March 15 is the International Day Against Police Brutality. It has been marked with rallies, memorials, and direct actions each year since the first events were held in 1997. The first manifestations of the International Day Against Police Brutality were organized by the Collective Opposed to Police Brutality in Montreal and the Black Flag collective in Switzerland. It has since spread, with events happening around the world.
In addition to mobilizing against the inherent structural brutality of policing in all forms, it is also a day to acknowledge and remember those who have been killed, brutalized, terrorized, and/or mistreated by police. In settler colonial states like Canada, it is also a centering of structural racism and policing and the role of policing in ongoing colonization and class repression. Canadian statistics from 2000-2017 are unequivocal: Indigenous people are 4.8% of the population, but 15% of people killed by police. Black people are 3.4% of Canada’s population, but 9% of people killed by police.
In so-called Metro Vancouver, the Defund 604 Network (unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations) and Anti-Police Power Surrey (traditional territories of the Semiahmoo, Katzie, Kwikwetlem, Kwantlen, Qayqayt, and Tsawwassen First Nations) are marking the International Day Against Police Brutality and remember with care those whose lives have been taken from our communities by local police since last March 15.
A Year of Police Killings in So-Called Metro Vancouver
Unfortunately, because there is no systematic process for documenting police killings in Canada, many victims’ names are not known publicly and much information about police killings remains unreported. It should also be acknowledged and respected that family members may not wish to have their loved ones’ names made public.
May 28, 2020
A man died while in custody of RCMP in Richmond, BC, (Metro Vancouver) on May 28, 2020. Private security guards were also involved.
May 30, 2020
A man died while being arrested by Delta Police (Metro Vancouver) on Friday, May 30, 2020.
September 30, 2020
Howard Glen Hill, a 31-year-old man, was critically injured by Trinity Western University security guard Jack Cruthers on September 30, 2020. He died days later in hospital.
November 26, 2020
A man in distress died when Vancouver Police Department officers attempted to remove him from a downtown coffee shop restroom on the evening of November 26, 2020.
January 5, 2021
Chester, a 37-year-old man, was shot and killed by Vancouver Police Department (VPD) officers in the city’s Downtown Eastside in the early morning of Tuesday, January 5, 2021 while he was in mental health crisis. Police again killing someone in distress. Policing is never not about health and wellness.
For more information, follow @defund604 and @appsurrey on twitter, @defund604network on Instagram, and Defund 604 Network on Facebook.
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