12.22.2008

mentally ill man murdered by police in mississauga

Gregg Moynagh lived in Port Credit, Mississauga, around the corner from where we used to live, a few kilometers from where we live now.

He was 25 years old. He suffered from mental illness.

Yesterday he was yelling and throwing things off his balcony. Police say he was lunging at them. "Knives were recovered" at the scene, as the vague expression goes. Whether or not Gregg Moynagh was holding one of them, we don't know.

We do know the police shot and killed him.

There were four police officers. Mr. Moynagh was alone. Was there no other way to subdue this poor soul than to kill him?

Of course this will be investigated. By the police.

Update and correction. This is being investigated by the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), a civilian review board, not the police. I'm not convinced of the SIU's impartiality or independence, but it's not an internal investigation, as I originally thought.

Some people see the low incidence of SIU findings against police officers as evidence of good policing. I'm quite a bit more skeptical.

12 comments:

Jere said...

Reminds me of the thing in NYC recently when the mentally ill guy got tasered by cops while he was on his balcony, and he fell to the concrete head first and died. We need some better police training on this continent.

L-girl said...

Thanks, Jere. Yes, I read about that.

Better training, better oversight and more accountability.

impudent strumpet said...

Shit, that's scarily close to home in a number of different ways.

And this means we can't call for help when a loved one is in crisis, even if we don't know what to do ourselves.

L-girl said...

And this means we can't call for help when a loved one is in crisis, even if we don't know what to do ourselves.

You know, that's exactly what African-American women in the US often say about their families.

I remember one woman in Brooklyn (when I lived there) talking about how she was afraid of her son, who was unstable and potentially violent, she called the police... they killed him. She was basically counseling other people not to call the cops, no matter what.

I cannot imagine the heartbreak - the layers of heartbreak - there.

Gunfighter said...

Not to be a poison pill here... but could it be that the cops acted appropriately? Have all of the facts come out, yet?

I'm biased. I'm a cop (in the U.S.), and more impoirtantly, I am a senior instructor in the Use of Force. I'm not looking to absolve anyone here, I am simply saying that a rush to judgement should be avoided if possible.

I would be happy to help when you have questions on the subject... although I make no claims at expertise to Canadian laws on the subject. Maybe I can just give a bit of perspective.

L-girl said...

One thin, small-built man without a gun.

Four cops.

I find it impossible to believe that there was no other way to take this man down without killing him.

I also find it unconscionable that the police force is allowed to "investigate" itself with no independent oversight.

To me, this murder and the bogus investigation are indefensible. So please do not try to defend it.

redsock said...

but could it be that the cops acted appropriately? Have all of the facts come out, yet?

Some more facts have come out, but they make the police look even worse:

Just three days before he died (last Thursday), Moynagh told a friend about another confrontation with police that was pretty much identical to the incident that led to his death.

Sylvia Nowak (lived down the street): ""He's had problems with ... [the police] before. I'm pretty sure they were aware of [his mental disorder]."

Scott M. said...

The SIU are not part of a police department, they're a separate, independant body. And they do end up charging officers occasionally (as they're required to investigate every serious harm, there's bound to be a higher amount of findings for officers as against as most officers don't cross the line).

I wouldn't jump to conclusions about the SIU protecting officers.

L-girl said...

I know they are not part of the police department. But aren't SIU officers police and former police? I am under that impression. If it's incorrect, I'm glad for that, and I'll correct it in the post.

No need to link to the SIU - I've already read the relevant links at that site. Criticism seems to indicate that they are not actually impartial or independent.

L-girl said...

I just corrected the post.

I did read about the SIU after I wrote the original post, but forgot that I had written this was being investigated "by the police".

Seeing all too often what happens when people wear uniforms, carry weapons and have authority to use force, I can't be as optimistic about the very low incidence of findings against police.

Kim_in_TO said...

Gunfighter:
There has not been a single case in which the SIU has found a police officer guilty of murder in shooting deaths. In too many cases, the SIU sides with the police and chooses to favour biased evidence over majority or more objective or overwhelming (or even video) evidence. Whenever I see headlines about cases like this, I can write the follow-up myself. "SIU Finds that Police acted Appropriately". This is why minority - mostly black - communities in Canada and the US have no faith and no trust in the police and the so-called justice system.

Kim_in_TO said...

Forgot to add:
To read more about just one of the many cases I am referring to, go to

http://www.reodica.com/jeff/main.html