Archive - Mar 2, 2011

Prayers for Peacemakers, Mar. 02, 2011



Pray for the Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals who have been seeking to re-open Shuhada Street, a major commercial thoroughfare in the heart of the city of Hebron, which Israeli authorities closed to Palestinians in 1994.


Doug Pritchard

Christian Peacemaker Teams

Toronto, Canada

ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: Justified use of force, part II--justified by fear

Helen Proulx and Byron Desbassige were both shot by police.  Byron died from his injuries, Proulx suffered from a shattered pelvis.  None of the police involved suffered from any injuries but the police charged Proulx, who had been trying to commit suicide, with assault.  All of the police officers were considered justified in their actions and not charged by the Special Investigations Unit (SIU).  * (See ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: Justified use of force, part I)

ABORIGINAL JUSTICE REFLECTION: Justified use of force, part I

“Authority to use force separates law enforcement officials from other members of society...”  (“Canada’s National Use-of-Force Framework for Police Officers” The Police Chief magazine August 2010)

Kenora resident Helen Proulx was trying to slit her wrists with a small knife when a neighbour called the police on 7 June 2010.  The lone responding officer commanded Proulx to drop her weapon.  She started to walk towards the officer and the officer fired two shots, wounding Proulx in the arm and shattering her pelvis.  The neighbour saw Proulx fall face first onto the sidewalk.  Police charged Proulx with assault.  Two years earlier, on 16 February 2008, Toronto resident Byron Debassige had been singing and asking for change when the police arrived.  He had stolen three lemons and then pulled out his pocketknife when the shop clerk chased him onto the street.  Two constables confronted him on the path at Oriole Park.  When they commanded him to put down his juice bottle, he tucked it under his arm and pulled the knife out of his pocket.  The officers drew their guns and shouted at him to stop and drop his knife, but Debassige kept walking toward them.  They fired four shots, hitting him twice in the torso.  He died from his injuries.  In both cases, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU)* found the shootings, “justified.”