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'It’s a horrible loss': Joint inquest wanted from families of men killed by Winnipeg police


The families of two men who were fatally shot by Winnipeg police are speaking out, calling for answers and support.

Gerry Singer said it’s been nearly two months since his brother, 59-year-old Bradley Singer, was fatally shot by Winnipeg police.

“It’s a horrible loss,” said Singer. “It was just so unnecessary for this to happen, and I can’t imagine how my brother felt dying like that. I mean, it’s got to be horrific.”

Police said on Feb. 13, officers responded to an order under the Mental Health Act to apprehend Bradley and take him to hospital for a non-voluntary physician examination.

Police said Bradley was shot by officers after barricading himself in his home and later confronting officers with a weapon.

Less than two months earlier, 19-year-old Afolabi Opaso died after being shot by police, who were responding to reports of a man acting erratically.

Police said Opaso was armed when he was shot by an officer, but Opaso’s family’s legal counsel said the young man was having a mental health episode.

“It seems as though that a call for help, unfortunately in Manitoba for people with mental health, seems to become a death sentence,” said Jean-Rene Kwilu.

Now the families of the two men are demanding answers, in the form of a joint inquest by Manitoba’s Chief Medical Examiner.

“However long it takes, we intend to get to the bottom of what happened to these two mentally sick men, and to find out why it happened, how it happened, and whether or not these deaths could have been avoided by using alternative means,” said Martin Glazer, the legal counsel for the Singer family.

They also say more supports are needed for families of people killed in police encounters.

In a statement to CTV News Winnipeg, Justice Minister Matt Wiebe said his heart goes out to the families who are dealing with the tragic losses of a loved one.

“Our government recognizes the need to address the mental health crisis facing many on our streets, which is why Budget 2024 has funds to hire 25 mental health workers to work alongside law enforcement,” said Wiebe.

“Recently, the Independent Investigations Unit hired a Director of Indigenous and Community Relations, which is a first step towards changing the way the IIU interacts with families and communities to better support them.”

He added the province is also reviewing policing standards throughout Manitoba, in hopes of preventing further incidents involving police.

However, Singer said more changes need to happen, and they need to happen fast.

“You judge by how you take care of the most vulnerable, the most needy, and this is what it’s come to. There’s just systematic failures in our systems,” said Singer.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner told CTV News Winnipeg that an inquest would be called once all investigations and reports are complete.

Whether or not it will be a joint inquest is up to the Chief Medical Examiner.

The IIU is probing the death of Bradley Singer, while the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team is investigating Afolabi Opaso’s death. Top Stories

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