Social justice advocate says police not sufficiently equipped for mental distress calls

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Two tragedies in recent weeks, both ending in the death of young Canadian women, have a mental health advocate calling for fewer police interactions in distress calls and more involvement from other trained professionals.

Regis Korchinski-Paquet, in Toronto, and, Chantel Moore, in Edmundston, New Brunswick died, on May 27 and June 4 respectively. In both cases, police were called in to check on their state of mind, during a time of distress. Korchinski-Paquet, 29, fell 24 storeys from an apartment balcony. Police say Moore, 26, was shot and killed by an officer — she had allegedly threatened him with a knife.

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1:41Questions surrounding death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet

Questions surrounding death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet

Social justice advocate Robert Wright, in Halifax, says the tragedies underscore the need for mental health professionals to respond to those calls, instead of police.

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“When we deploy police to do work that is not — strictly speaking — police kind of work, we are creating the conditions for a problem.”

The Canadian Police Association,

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