Calvin Lawrence: When is Police use of force justified?

Calvin Lawrence

Calvin Lawrence

by Calvin Lawrence

I am a seventh generation Black Canadian. I was also a police officer for 36 years. I have worked in a city, rural, and federal environment.

The growth of the Black Lives Matter movement has come out of the lack of information, accountability, and racist behavior by some INDIVIDUAL police officers. This is nothing new. Canada fails to teach the long conflict between black communities and the police. I have lectured, presented, and facilitated, on the subject of Police/Race Relations since 1970.

The use of force by police officers is mandated in part by a Use of Force curriculum. In fact, if you Google “Use of Force Model Ontario” it will be described. The use of force model is a guide not a firm policy. And so it should be. However, it is used to explain the police officers’ use of force to the courts and their police organization. The citizen rarely hears of the model. Why not? All police use-of-force disputes among, politicians, police, citizens, police boards, including Black Lives Matter members, should know how the model applies.

The Head of the Police Union in Toronto (and all police union heads) should be asked the following questions: Please define Racism/Racist behavior. Does racist behavior take place in his organization by some INDIVIDUAL members? Should it take place? What proactive steps have you taken as head of the police union to eliminate racist behavior? If not, why not?
I can tell you that racist behavior takes place inside and outside of police organizations. (Google Calvin Lawrence Racism RCMP) (Space between words). There are some police officers that will put their personal belief system before their oath. In this case, racist behavior. This includes all police organizations. All INDIVIDUAL police officers do not practice racist behavior.

If you want to minimize the conflict, the police, SIU, and Police Services Board, must do a timely, accurate, open as possible, investigation and then tell the truth no matter who it helps or who it hurts. Once that is done, exonerate or hold the police officer accountable by the courts and/or the police organization. Then implement polices and/or changes to existing policies if need be.

The Diameter of your knowledge Dictates the Circumference of Your Activity!

About the writer

Calvin Lawrence retired in 2006 from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) after twenty-eight years, and eight and half years with Halifax City Police. He was recognised as one of Nova Scotia’s outstanding citizens in Steve Kimber’s book:  “More Than Just Folks”, 1998. He is currently a consultant on police-related subjects.
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