BY ALEX GREGORY
An advocacy committee is requesting an “expedited and transparent process” after a fatal police-involved shooting earlier this month in Brampton. The Peel Regional Police Black Advisory Committee issued a public statement last week in relation to the death of 26 year-old D’Andre Campbell, who was tazed and fatally shot during a confrontation inside his family home on Apr. 5. D’Andre Campbell, as seen in a social media photo, who was tazed and fatally shot during an incident on Apr. 5. (Submitted)
“While the circumstances leading to the death of D’Andre Campbell remain unclear, it is unacceptable and extremely concerning when interactions between members of the community and Police result in abuse, injury or death,” the committee said in a statement regarding the incident, which occurred when Campbell himself called 911 to report a domestic disturbance within the property.
When officers arrived around 5:30 p.m. the night of the incident, the situation escalated to the point that two officers stunned Campbell, who was wielding a knife, with taser guns before an officer shot him several times. Campbell would later succumb to his injuries at the scene despite efforts to revive him, Peel Police confirmed. The province’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) was subsequently called in to investigate the case. “We are calling for an expedited and transparent process for the benefit of the family, the officers involved and the community,” the committee said.
“The Peel Regional Police Black Advisory Committee remains committed to strengthening the partnership with the Peel Police Service to ensure that healthy and respectful relationships exist between the Service and community. However, we will hold Peel Police Service fully accountable when circumstances dictate.”
“As a Chief, I am legally unable to comment on the details of this tragic incident, and I am fully committed to ensuring the public continues to be engaged by Peel Regional Police, and also by me.” Duraiappah said that the value of relationships will continue to be important for the force. “No police leader desires to experience tragedy and the loss of life.
Peel Regional Police Chief Nishan Duraiappah also responded shortly after the incident, saying that the tragedy has had an impact on the lives of those involved and the community as a whole. “Notwithstanding historic relations and issues of trust in policing in the community – I understand and recognize that the absence of information, and the resolve which the community is demanding, deeply affects public confidence,” Duraiappah said in a statement.
Traditional outcomes for persons in crisis, those impacted by other factors, or those atrisk need to be mitigated much earlier. I, along with the members of Peel Regional Police and our community partners intend on achieving this in our region.” Interviews with several of Campbell’s relatives indicated that police had visited his family home several times in the past, and that D’Andre himself had mental health issues that officers should have been made aware of.
“He was my best friend through thick and thin in high school,” said Anthony Powell, Campbell’s best friend, who called the incident “unbelievable” in an online fundraiser to support programs for residents dealing with mental health. “He didn’t always have a mental condition… that’s not who he was,” Powell said. “Peel Police shouldn’t use that as an excuse, period! It was him going to jail that started the mental behaviour issues, but clearly he had enough sense to call police on himself. He knew he needed help.”
Peel Police had previously launched a program earlier this year to respond to calls for mental health concerns or crises, via the launch of the Mobile Crisis Rapid Response Team (MCRRT) in March. The unit was formed in response to the rise in mental health-related occurrences over the past several years, after police noticed an escalating number of cases dealing with those undergoing mental health issues. In 2015, Peel Regional Police had 4,488 people apprehended under the Mental Health Act, and the numbers climbed significantly, to 5,796 in 2019.
It is estimated that in 2017, the force spent $1,794,000 in police salaries waiting in emergency rooms with apprehended individuals. The SIU said in a statement that the case is ongoing, and that it will not make any public statements until an investigation is completed. Residents with additional information regarding the case are asked to call the SIU at 1- 800-787-8529.