Jermaine Carby inquest jury makes 14 recommendations following 2014 shooting death

A coroner's jury in Brampton determined Thursday that the police shooting of Jermaine Carby in 2014 was a homicide, and recommended police explore ways to overcome 'unconscious bias' during traffic stops.

Jury recommends police training on 'unconscious bias,' de-escalating crisis situations

Jermaine Carby, 33, was shot three times in September 2014 by Peel Regional Police in Brampton when police say a routine traffic stop escalated into a heated encounter involving a knife. (Courtesy of La Tanya Grant) (Courtesy of La Tanya Grant)

A coroner's jury in Brampton determined Thursday that the police shooting of Jermaine Carby in 2014 was a homicide, and recommended police explore ways to overcome "unconscious bias" during traffic stops.

The five-member jury made 14 recommendations, the majority of them calling on police to develop effective methods of de-escalation and to choose "the lowest level of force appropriate if use of force should be required."

The jury said the Ontario Police College and Peel Regional Police should "develop a method to objectively measure the effectiveness of officer training for unconscious bias, mental health issues, de-escalation and use of force" and that officers "be tested, graded and must meet a benchmark in order to pass."

The group also recommended that police work with diverse communities so that they will be better equipped to "exercise sensitivity and discretion concerning interactions with the public."

Carby, 33, was a passenger in a black Volkswagen Jetta on Sept. 24, 2014 when it was pulled over by two Peel Regional Police officers during a routine traffic stop in Brampton. He was shot three times after police said he refused to drop a knife he was holding. The SIU cleared the police officers involved of any wrongdoing last year. 

A verdict of homicide at an inquest is not the same as in a criminal proceeding. Inquest jurors issue the ruling when they determine someone is responsible for a death, but they are not allowed to say who bears that responsibility. 

The coroner's report noted Carby had been suffering from mental health issues, including depression, and had been seeking treatment in hospital just days before he was killed.

Police previously testified that the incident escalated when officers asked Carby for his name and identification and found outstanding warrants for his arrest in British Columbia. 

​Const. Ryan Reid, who shot Carby, told the inquest that the 33-year-old became agitated, pulled a knife from the waistband of his pants and shouted: "Shoot me, shoot me." A video displayed in court showed police saying: "Drop the knife, drop the knife," before shots were fired.

Reid testified he was left with no other choice but to fire his weapon and would repeat his actions under the same circumstances.

 Last Friday, Carby's mother expressed frustration with Reid's comments.

"Even a dog or a cat, you don't kill like that," she told reporters. "How are you going to say that you would have not changed anything?"