GTA ‘Why did you shoot me?’ A Black Mississauga mother seeks answers from Peel police

Chantelle Krupka and her partner Michael Headley were involved in an altercation with Peel police at their Mississauga home. Both were Tasered; Krupa was shot in the hip.

As she lay wounded outside her Mississauga home, a bullet from a Peel Regional police officer’s gun lodged in her side, Chantelle Krupka kept repeating the same question.

“Why did you shoot me? Why?” Krupka remembers asking. “No one answered.”

Krupka, a 34-year-old Black Mississauga mother, says she and her partner Michael Headley were unarmed on the night of May 10 when police arrived at her home and Tasered them both.

Then, as she lay on the ground, a female police officer pulled out her gun and shot her without warning, the bullet striking her in the abdomen and fracturing her hip, Krupka said.

“What could possibly justify shooting a woman on the ground after she’s been Tasered? There’s no weapons involved,” Davin Charney, the criminal lawyer representing Krupka and Headley, said in an interview Tuesday.

Exactly how Krupka came to be seriously injured outside her home on Mother’s Day — left with chronic pain, a long road of physiotherapy, and walking with the use of a cane — is being investigated by the Special Investigations Unit (SIU). It is among the latest in a series of incidents in which a Peel police officer has shot someone in recent weeks.

This weekend, Peel police shot and killed 62-year-old Ejaz Choudry, a father of four who lived with schizophrenia, following a mental health crisis call — a death that on Monday prompted hundreds of protestors to block a major Malton intersection near Choudry’s home. In April, a Peel police officer fatally shot 26-year-old D’Andre Campbell who was struggling with mental illness, and in January, Peel police fatally shot Jamal Derek Jr. Francique, a father of two.

A Peel police spokesperson declined to comment on Krupka’s shooting. On Monday night, Peel police chief Nishan Duraiappah issued a statement asking for calm while the SIU investigations unfold.

According to a brief summary of the case provided by SIU, a Peel police officer Tasered then shot Krupka outside a home while responding to a domestic call. According to the SIU, officers arrived and found a man and a woman on a front porch of a residence before “an interaction ensued” and two officers discharged their Tasers before one fired her weapon.

Other than the officer’s firearm and conducted energy weapons, neither SIU update mentions a weapon, information the watchdog sometimes includes in statements.

In an update Tuesday, the SIU said the investigation is “nearing completion.” The watchdog said it has video footage, six witness officers have been interviewed, and the female officer who shot Krupka provided a copy of her notes and has been interviewed. (A “subject officer” has the legal right to refuse to participate in an SIU investigation.)

According to a summary of the incident detailed in a written complaint to the Office of the Independent Police Review Director — the office that reviews complaints against Ontario police — the incident began after Krupka got into an argument with her ex-partner over access to their 10-year-old son. His father had custody that day but because it was Mother’s Day, Krupka said she’d asked to see her son. When her ex-partner did not agree to this, Krupka said they got into an argument by text, but there was “nothing threatening.”

After realizing she wouldn’t get to see her son, Krupka says she was relaxing at home when she got a call from an officer at 10:30 p.m. saying police were outside. According to Krupka’s complaint, her ex-partner had called police and shown them the text messages, prompting officers to come to Krupka’s home to tell her not to contact her ex-partner except to arrange child care.

Krupka says she told an officer she would not be going outside, prompting him to first threaten to charge her and next to position the police car so as to shine its lights directly into her home, according to the complaint. It was then that Krupka decided to call police to try to speak with the officer’s supervisor; when she was connected to a dispatcher, she said she was encouraged to go outside and speak with the police.

“I was afraid,” she wrote in the OIPRD complaint. “I am afraid of police because I have seen so many Black people killed or abused by police and I have bad experiences with them before.”

Krupka says she and Headley then came out of the house and that she was recording the interaction with her phone (Charney confirmed there is video showing the interaction but they are not to releasing it right now). It was then that two officers, a man and a woman, got out of the police vehicle and walked up to the front of their home, according to Krupka’s complaint.

Krupka said that she told the officers they needed to leave because they were trespassing, but she says they argued with her and the male officer moved toward her and pulled out his Taser. When Krupka said she raised her hand in protest, the officer accused her of raising her fist at him, according to the complaint.

The officer then told Headley to go inside the house, then quickly moved toward him and Tasered him, according to the complaint. Headley had been standing approximately two meters away from the officer “and was not threatening him in any way,” the complaint says.

Krupka was taken to hospital and has undergone surgery to remove the bullet fragments. She recovered alone amid COVID-19 hospital restrictions on visitors.

Police have charged both Krupka and Headley over the incident. According to the complaint, police searched the home after and seized cash, a cellphone and cannabis, which Krupka said were all legal. She alleges the charges — Headley and Krupka face charges of possession for the purpose of distributing and laundering proceeds of crime, while Headley is also charged with obstructing a peace officer and assaulting a police officer — have been laid “in an attempt to paint us as criminals and create an after-the-fact justification for the excessive use of force against us.”

“Even if there were any merit to the charges, which we absolutely deny, the use of force was excessive and outrageously abusive,” reads the complaint.

Krupka’s complaint alleges the officers involved used excessive force, accuses them of unlawful arrest and discreditable conduct, and alleges systemic racism against Peel police.

In an interview Tuesday, Krupka said she is recovering but is in a “great deal of pain” and will require physiotherapy. She will also need counselling for the emotional trauma, which includes flashbacks to the night of the shooting, she said.

SOURCE

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