IG news Update,
The coroner’s investigation into the death of a Windsor man who was shot by police ended Friday after a jury made a number of recommendations to police, hospitals and the government in its verdict.
Matthew Mahoney, 33, was shot dead by Windsor Police on March 21, 2018 after a confrontation in the city.
At the time of his death, Mahoney was walking to town with a butcher block of knives. During interrogation, it was heard that he had stabbed one of the officers in the hand before the other officer opened fire.
The jury determined that Mahoney died of homicide, but they cannot place blame or blame on the officers involved.
During interrogation, the jury heard that Mahoney was struggling with his mental health. After nearly two weeks of evidence, the jury returned with a verdict and nine recommendations.
They recommend that police receive advanced training in addressing mental health-related situations and crises, including “awareness education to help identify and recognize situations where mental illness may play a role.” A review of current police procedures regarding response to people with mental illness and providing bi-annually mandatory standardized training on de-escalation strategies and empathy for mental-health-related conditions is also suggested.
The jury also recommends the Windsor Police Service review resources for the Community Outreach and Support Team (COAST) to ensure increased support for growing community mental health needs and provide 24-hour support.
Recommendations directed toward Windsor Regional Hospital and the Ministry of Health include improving standards for mental health care offerings. This includes reviewing and auditing core services within the hospital each year to ensure standards are met and in sync with community demands.
The jury created a point-person to help coordinate services such as scheduling follow-up sessions to patients and families, offering family meetings within 48-72 hours of hospital admission, and “providing mental health services 24 hours a day.” It has also suggested setting up a mental health advocate role for the day to better help communities by expanding self-help services to those in need through online, hybrid or in-person support.
The Ontario government is also recommended to offer and arrange better legal and mental health support for the families of those killed in police encounters.
The interrogation of both the officers as well as Mahoney’s brother and mother was heard before the jury reached its verdict.
The jury’s verdict along with a full list of recommendations is available here.