Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut November 22, 2016 - 11:45 am

Nunavut police plan “comprehensive review” of coroner jury findings

RCMP say they will report back to coroner next year with progress on changes

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
A coroner's jury into the 2012 death of Felix Taqqaugaq in Igloolik recommended many changes in how RCMP deal with people with mental illness. RCMP said Nov. 21 they will give full consideration to all recommendations directed at the force and then report back on changes they have made. (FILE PHOTO)
A coroner's jury into the 2012 death of Felix Taqqaugaq in Igloolik recommended many changes in how RCMP deal with people with mental illness. RCMP said Nov. 21 they will give full consideration to all recommendations directed at the force and then report back on changes they have made. (FILE PHOTO)

The Nunavut RCMP plans to review and consider recommendations made by the recent coroner’s inquest in Igloolik, reporting back to the Nunavut Coroner next year on progress made towards change.

That news came in a Nov. 21 news release from the RCMP V Division in connection to the 25 recommendations made by a coroner’s jury which looked into the March 2012 death of Felix Taqqaugaq in Igloolik.

“Full consideration will be given to incorporating specific recommendations within the RCMP of V Division. Furthermore, Nunavut RCMP will commit to providing a full report on the recommendations to the office of the Chief Coroner in a year,” said the release.

Taqqaugaq was shot and killed by RCMP Const. Jason Trites after Taqqaugaq, a mentally-ill man in the midst of a psychotic episode, came at Trites waving a kitchen knife.

The inquest, meant to explore the circumstances surrounding Taqqaugaq’s death and to make recommendations on how to avoid such deaths in future, was mandated because the death resulted from an altercation with police.

Most of the coroner jury’s recommendations singled out the RCMP, on how the force deals with distraught and/or mentally ill people.

Seven recommendations addressed a regular police tactic called “command and control.”

That tactic means if you are in a confrontation with police and do not obey their command, the police will assert control over you.

The jury recommended the alternative of “de-escalating” confrontation when dealing with those suffering from mental illness.

“The RCMP will make a public commitment to make de-escalation a priority in all potentially violent encounters with people in mental health crisis,” one recommendation said.

The recent coroner’s inquest in Igloolik followed another painful 2014 inquest into the 2012 death of Solomon Uyarasuk who died in an Igloolik police holding cell.

Like the jury in the Uyarasuk inquest, the Taqqaugaq jury also recommended that RCMP members receive better orientation and cultural sensitivity training, especially for new members.

“Nunavut RCMP understands that this incident and the subsequent inquest has had a significant impact and empathize with the family, friends and the community as a whole,” the Nov. 21 police news release said.

“It is hopeful that the inquest was able to provide the family and friends of Felix Taqqugaq [sic] with the necessary information to assist in providing closure.”

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