Winnipeg's South Sudanese community demands answers into why man was fatally shot by police
Winnipeg’s South Sudanese community is demanding answers into the death of a man fatally shot by Winnipeg police over the weekend.
The man has been identified as Machuar Madut, 43, a father of three children.
“Madut is remembered as a quiet, polite, industrious, friendly and family person. He has been struggling recently with mental health issues which resulted from his separation from his children and family,” said a release issued by the Council of South Sudanese Community of Manitoba Inc. Monday.
The shooting, the third officer involved shooting by Winnipeg police in 2019, happened around 9:45 a.m. Saturday morning on Colony Street in West Broadway.
According to the Independent Investigation Unit, it happened while police were responding to a report of a male with a hammer and a possible break-in, and a confrontation took place and an officer or officers fired their guns.
The Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba told CTV News Saturday the man died from gunshot wounds, and IIU investigators were deployed to the scene.
Winnipeg police said the man was rushed to hospital in critical condition and later died.
Anyone with information or video that could help investigators is asked to call the IIU at 1-844-667-6060.
Martino Laku, president of the COSSCOM said Madut came to Canada in 2003 after being in refugee camp in Kenya.
He said he and his wife had separated and she moved to British Columbia with his three children.
Laku said Madut recently moved in the same building as his cousin who was helping support him.
“Just last week the community was rallying a coordinated support with health experts to help Mr. Madut with his mental problem. The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and EIA were also involved in the process,” the release said.
“Unfortunately, we are very dismayed to learn that he has died untimely in the hands of the police!”
The release goes on to say the community is deeply saddened and appalled, and family strongly condemn what happened and want to know why police used lethal force on a ‘sick and non-violent person’ like Madut.
“Madut used to spend most of his time in public places; at Portage Place Mall and South Sudanese Community Centre and has never caused any public disturbance,” the statement said.
“Although he was not fluent in English, his body language and smile, would show he would never pose a threat to anyone.”
University of Winnipeg criminal justice associate professor Kevin Walby called Madut’s death tragic news.
He said it raises questions around use of force and mental health supports in an emergency.
"Is funding mobile crisis response adequate, is that unit adequately staffed, are they taxed due to austerity in the province, were they able to make it, did they receive a call?" Walby said in an interview with CTV News Monday.
'IT’S TERRIBLE': WINNIPEG POLICE ASSOCIATION
George Van Mackelbergh is with the Winnipeg Police Association, the union representing police officers.
“It’s tough, they know that ultimately no matter how well you prepare, you can’t really prepare for it and it’s terrible,” he said Monday in a phone call with CTV News.
“Nobody gets up and says I hope I get to that today,” he said.
Mackelbergh said there are a number of tools for use of force but ultimately what level is dictated by the person who brought police and officers are reactionary.
“Unfortunately sometimes people for whatever reason the leave no other choice,” he said adding police are also there to protect one another.