YU INQUEST: Jury Recommendations (Includes Outpatient Committal!)

Graeme Bacque (gbacque@idirect.com)
Fri, 16 Apr 1999 21:40:52 -0400

The media was everywhere this morning when the five-member Coroner's
jury delivered it's verdict on the police killing of Edmond Yu along
with a mixed bag of twenty-four recommendations.

The verdict was that thirty-five year old Edmond Wai Hong Yu died on
February 20, 1997 at 5:30 PM  at Queen's Quay Blvd. and Spadina Avenue
in Toronto. The cause of death was gunshot wounds to the head and neck.
The means by which he died was ruled to be homicide. (No charges were
brought, or will be brought, against the officer(s) responsible).

While some of the recommendations seem quite good on the surface
(including the establishment of 'safe houses' , more support for
survivor-run employment initiatives, crisis resolution training for all
police, exploration of non-medical approaches to assisting persons in
crisis and considerable survivor involvement in implementation) a closer
look reveals the essential shallowness of the proposed 'reforms.'

Other, more damaging recommendations include extensive public and
professional education around mental health laws (with the aim
essentially being how to better utilize them to involuntarily commit and
force-treat people), the establishment of a broad-based (and invasive)
case-management scheme - and amendments to the Mental Health Act to
allow for involuntary outpatient committal.

Quite a few of the recommendations appeared contradictary, as if the
jury was not paying close attention to their own efforts as tyhey
progressed. A closer look also reveals a distinctly prejudicial tone to
the language employed - the status quo of psychiatric thinking isn't
challenged in any meaningful way, no real effort was made to challenge
police (and psychiatric) racism, and only token acknowledgement is paid
to the overwhelming need for affordable housing. The distancing of
'normals' from 'the mentally ill' is maintained throughout this
document. More attention was paid to accomodating the needs and wishes
of the police (and mental health professionals) then those persons who
are potentially their victims.

I have transcribed the recommendations in full and posted the document
to the People Against Coercive Treatment website at
<http://www.tao.ca/~pact>. I will be adding a few pictures from the
impromptu press conference after the delivery of the recommendations in
a couple of days once I get my film processed.

 Graeme Bacque <http://webhome.idirect.com/~gbacque/gbacque.html>
   People Against Coercive Treatment <http://www.tao.ca/~pact>
   ++++      stop the execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal       ++++
   ++++  http://www.xs4all.nl/~tank/spg-l/sigaction.htm  ++++