The family of a mentally ill man who was shot and killed by police west of Toronto earlier this spring say their son deserved better.
Days after Ontario police officers failed to find a basis to file charges against the Peel Region officer who shot D’Andre Campbell, his family said the 26-year-old was unsuccessful by authorities designed to protect him.
“D’Andre deserves better,” his family said in a statement to the Canadian press.
“Some of the most vulnerable people in our communities deserve better.”
Campbell lived with his parents and six siblings in their home in Brampton, Ontario. It was a boisterous place full of love, music and his heavy footsteps – he was the only one wearing his shoes in the house, they said.
The young black man – called Dion by his family and friends – lived with schizophrenia for almost a decade. He was prescribed medication and lived most of his life symptom-free, his family said. He was a homebody who loved to laugh and listen to music, they remembered.
“D’Andre spent much of his time at home where he felt safe,” said his family.
“D’Andre lived with the challenges associated with mental illness. However, he was not defined by his challenges and had so much to offer.”
Campbell and several others with mental disorders have died after police were called into their homes earlier this year.
Some of these deaths, including Campbell’s, sparked protests calling for the police to defuse and some of the money for a new approach to dealing with victims of the crisis.
On the day he died in early April, Campbell called 911 and asked officials to deal with a dispute at the apartment, according to the Ontario Special Investigations Unit’s report of his death.
He did not give the dispatcher his address because he said, “the police had a tracking system and knew where he lived,” according to the report released by the police officer on Monday.
Campbell’s family told the Canadian press that they didn’t know he made that first call.
What is in Pfizer’s vaccine? A look at the ingredients
Iran sentenced “Zombie Angelina Jolie” to 10 years in prison for photos
They said they hadn’t noticed anything unusual about his behavior that day.
The SIU said two officers arrived home and were let in by Campbell’s mother, who told them that her son had a mental illness.
The officials had already been informed by the dispatcher that Campbell was suffering from a mental illness, the report said.
Police found Campbell in the kitchen with a large knife and ordered him to drop it, the SIU report said.
Campbell approached the officers, one of whom then fired his stun gun twice, the SIU said. Campbell fell to the ground and there was a fight, the SIU said, but the officers were unable to remove the knife.
All three then returned to the kitchen island between Campbell and the officers.
Both officers drew their guns and one shot shot Campbell twice in his stomach, the SIU said.
Campbell died in the kitchen.
His family had problems with some parts of the SIU version of events, their attorney Jeremy Solomon said. However, he would not specify exactly which parts cite the possibility of an impending civil lawsuit.
SIU director Joseph Martino said in his report that he believed the officers were acting in self-defense.
However, he noted that there was legitimate criticism of the way two officers dealt with the situation.
They didn’t try to reassure Campbell, Martino said, and they didn’t discuss how to approach him before they got there.
The SIU also noted that the Peel Regional Police had been called home several times since 2011 to check Campbell’s mental health.
He was arrested several times under the Mental Health Act, according to the SIU report, and on other occasions the crisis team left without incident.
Campbell’s family said they had a lot of questions.
“Why was D’Andre’s interaction with the police different that day? Why were the officers unwilling to address D’Andre’s needs and circumstances? Why did the police not serve D’Andre on April 6 as they did on previous occasions and protected? “They said.
They also asked why Peel Police Chief Nishan Duraiappah had not contacted them directly to offer them his condolences.
A spokeswoman for the chief executive said Duraiappah publicly offered condolences to the family following Campbell’s death.
According to the SIU report, Duraiappah also issued a statement saying the force is working to improve mental health resources to “fill gaps in human service systems that need to be addressed or else we will be in.” Face similar tragic circumstances in the future “.
The Campbell family lawyer said the young man’s death was preventable.
“Whether the officials who responded to D’Andre’s request for help made mistakes or the training they received was inadequate in interacting with people suffering from mental health problems needs to be changed,” said Solomon.
Campbell would have turned 27 on Thursday.