A year after son's death, Quebec woman pushes for mandatory police body cameras
Almost a year after her son was shot and killed by police, a Quebec woman is planning to present a petition to the National Assembly calling on for all police to wear body cameras.
Riley Fairholm was 17 when he was shot to death by Surete du Quebec officers in Lac-Brome on July 25. While the Bureau of Independent Investigators eventually determined that he was threatening the officers with a weapon, his parents said police didn’t do enough to de-escalate the situation or disarm their son.
While the BEI has completed its investigation, it is up to the Crown as to whether any charges would be laid. Neither the BEI or SQ would comment on the case.
His mother, Tracy Wing, said Fairholm was diagnosed with anxiety and depression when he was 12. She said her arm was holding a BB gun at the time of the shooting but without video, exactly what happened that night isn’t known.
“I would really love for them to have GPS on their cars that are always recording. I would love cameras in their cars,” she said.
Wing said the emotions around the situation are still raw. She remembers 15 minutes before the shooting, she heard from her son for the last time: a text message saying “I love you.”
“I didn’t think that would be the last time he would reach out to me,” she said. “An extra couple of minutes and I think it could have been a different outcome.”
Wing said little information has been made available to her family. She believes that police being equipped with body cameras would spare other families that kind of struggle.
“Just so you can have the transparency of the investigation and know exactly what happened,” she said.
So far, her petition has more than 1,000 signatures and Liberal MNA Greg Kelley said he will table it at the National Assembly next month.
Kelley said Wing’s case raises essential questions about access to mental health services for Quebec’s English-speaking community.
“Right now, there is just a reality in some parts of the region that there is a shortage of those services,” he said.
In February, the City of Montreal rejected a proposal to make body cameras mandatory for police officers, with the public security committee saying the measure would be too costly and not effective.