Test case profile

Inquest into the death of Jermaine Carby

In 2014, Jermaine Carby, a 33-year-old Black Canadian, was a passenger in a car that was pulled over by police during a routine traffic stop in Brampton. He was shot and killed after police said he refused to drop a knife he was holding. In the inquest that followed in 2016, a coroners jury determined that Mr. Carbys death was a homicide.

The coroners jury made 14 recommendations following the inquestmost of which called on police to look into ways to de-escalate potential conflicts and to choose the lowest level of force appropriate if use of force should be required.

LAO provided funding to the Carby family to retain lawyer Faisal Mirza to represent them at the inquest. Funding was also provided for a number of experts to testify and work with Mr. Mirza on the impact of race in policing and the justice system. In addition, given the tight timelines, LAOs staff lawyer, Armando DAndrea, and the staff lawyers from the African Canadian Legal Clinic, provided assistance.

Quotes

The Coroner's inquest into the death of Jermaine Carby dealt with ground breaking issues regarding anti-Black bias in policing in the context of street check or carding enforcement, and use of force in relation to individuals with a known history of mental health issues.

This inquest established a record that persuaded the jury to recommend the Peel Police and Ontario Police College provide officers with better unconscious bias training while ensuring objective evaluation of its effectiveness. On behalf of the Carby family and myself, I thank Legal Aid Ontario for funding this important test case litigation and its commitment to access to justice.

— Faisal Mirza, lead lawyer for the Carby family

Legal Aid Ontario is very concerned about the practice of carding or street checks and the discriminatory impact it has historically had on racialized peoples — and in particular, Black Canadians. For this reason, one of the first initiatives of our recently launched Racialized Communities Strategy was to make Submissions to the Government of Ontario setting out comprehensive recommendations for ending discrimination in the practice of carding.

The Inquest into the death of Mr. Carby raised serious issues about unconscious bias and the treatment of people with addiction and mental health issues. I am happy we were able to support the family of Mr. Carby to raise these important systemic issues which we will continue to explore through our vulnerable client strategies.

— Kimberly Roach, Policy Counsel, Legal Aid Ontario, Racialized Communities Justice Strategy

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