Toronto’s CAMH says police should not be 1st responders to mental health calls

WATCH VIDEO: An intersection in Malton remained closed on Tuesday as community members demanded answers after a 62-year-old man in distress was shot and killed by Peel Regional Police. Morganne Campbell has more about why a team tasked with responding to mental health calls wasn’t on scene.

Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) says police officers should not be the first responders on scene to a mental health crisis or person in mental health distress.

“Recent events have exposed the tragic outcomes that can occur when people with mental illness experience a crisis in the community and are not able to get the care that they need,” a statement issued on behalf of the centre read on Tuesday.

“CAMH, along with our mental health system partners, has been advocating for years for measures to improve crisis care. It’s clear we need a new way forward.”

The statement comes on the heels of multiple incidents involving police and a person in mental health distress that has resulted in a fatality.


Demonstration continues in Mississauga after fatal shooting of man by police

WATCH VIDEO: Many questions are being raised by friends and family of 62-year-old Ejaz Choudry during a protest on Monday after he was fatally shot by Peel Regional Police on Saturday. Sean O’Shea reports.

Hundreds of protesters marched the streets Monday in Mississauga, Ont., with the family of a 62-year-old man who was shot and killed by police.

They chanted “no justice, no peace, abolish the police” as they walked along a major thoroughfare with little police presence.

They were there for Ejaz Choudry, a man with schizophrenia, who was in the middle of a mental health crisis on Saturday when the family said they called the non-emergency line for help around 5 p.m. on Saturday.

READ MORE: Family of 62-year-old man who died after police shooting in Mississauga call for inquiry

Three hours later, Peel Regional Police stormed Choudry’s home, fired multiple shots and killed him.

The family demanded the force fire the officer who killed Choudry and continued their call for a public inquiry.

They also demanded change for those in crises.

“We want to create a system that is meant to be there for us,” said Choudry’s nephew, Hassan Choudhary.

“This system is not meant to be there for us. You’re in a mental health crisis and you’re faced by people with guns, people with body armour, people with authority over you, people demanding you, telling you what to do, instead of listening and trying to understand what’s wrong.”

At one point, the emotional crowd surrounded two police officers and screamed at them for change. Other protesters got between the officers and the crowd, which eventually marched on.

There was very little police presence otherwise.



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