The inquest into the death of Jermaine Carby began on Monday and his family is hoping for more than words.
“Police need to stop using excessive force and be accountable for their actions,” Carby’s cousin, La Tanya Grant, said outside court Monday.
Carby, 33, was shot and killed after the car he was in was pulled over near Kennedy Road North and Queen Street East around 10 p.m. on Sept. 24, 2014.
The director of the province’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Tony Loparco, ruled the killing was in self-defence after police said Carby pulled out a knife and began moving toward the officers, goading them to shoot him. No charges were laid.
Grant said the family had had a five-hour meeting with Loparco, but still has questions about the presence of the knife. She is asking for the full SIU report to be released, similar to a recent high-profile case.
“I’m hoping for them to release the full report of Jermaine Carby. Exactly just like Andrew Loku.” Grant says.
Loku, 45, was shot dead by police on July 5, 2015. He was holding a hammer when he was killed. No charges were laid after the SIU ruled the officers’ actions were justified after. The heavily-redacted report was released last month.
“The same way they got the resistance for [releasing the Loku report], I’m expecting we’re going to have the same [resistance] for this and seeing how we’re in the middle of the inquest, I doubt that they’re going release that to us right away,” Grant said.
Carby, like Loku, had documented mental health issues
In earlier interviews, Grant acknowledged that Carby had been on drugs when he was shot dead by Peel police. He had amphetamine, methamphetamine, marijuana and traces of an anti-depressant in his system at the time of his death, according to a coroner’s toxicology report.
“Because someone doesn’t take their meds, or someone does take recreational drugs … it doesn’t mean they should be killed,” Grant said. “We had the mayor who was on drugs but he was still operating in his office. He was not shot dead.”
The coroner’s report also indicated Carby suffered from mental health issues, including depression, and had been in hospital seeking treatment just days before he was killed.
Grant told CityNews she believes officers on the scene should have called a mental health unit to deal with her cousin.
Knife not found at crime scene
Following Carby’s death, his family members raised several questions about shooting, the most important of which being where was the knife he was allegedly holding but was not found on scene when the SIU arrived.
Loparco said the knife, which was a kitchen knife with a serrated blade, was handed over to the SIU several hours after the shooting from an acting police sergeant, who said he had received it from another officer who had arrived at the scene just as the shooting ended.
That officer told the SIU he had used his left foot to step on the knife, which was still in Carby’s right hand, and drag it toward the curb lane. He later picked up the knife, placed it in a brown paper bag and handed it to a sergeant.
“It is highly regrettable that one officer removed the knife from the scene,” Loparco said. “His ill-advised conduct has cast a pall over the integrity of the SIU’s investigation.”
Black Lives Matter
The activist group Black Lives Matter has been pressuring police and the provincial government for more information on both Loku and Carby’s death. They have also asked for the names of the officer’s involved to be made public. So far, this has not happened.
They’re also demonstrating for more police transparency and a full review of the SIU.