Waterloo Region's police board, chief sued over shooting of Beau Baker
Nearly one year to the day after Beau Baker was killed outside a Kitchener townhouse, his family members have filed a lawsuit against the Waterloo Regional Police officer who shot him and the region’s police board.
“This is about getting the truth out. It’s very important that the truth gets out,” Baker’s mother, Jackie Baker, said outside the Kitchener courthouse.
On April 2, 2015, police were called to a townhouse complex on Brybeck Crescent after Baker called 911 to report that he had a knife, which he said police would have to take from him by force.
According to the results of an investigation by Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit, a responding officer found Baker standing outside the townhouse, holding a knife.
The SIU found that the 20-year-old moved toward the officer, who fired his weapon in return – then fired it six more times.
The officer and a colleague who had witnessed the shooting then attempted CPR on Baker.
Through its investigation, the SIU did not find any reason to lay charges against the officer.
Jackie Baker says she and her family members had been told that SIU investigations rarely result in charges, but said she was still “trusting that the right thing would be done and the truth would come out, only to find out a year later that that hasn’t happened.”
For their lawsuit, the family has retained the services of Toronto-based lawyer Davin Charney.
“Fundamentally, the claim is asserting that the force used to shoot and kill Beau Baker … was unnecessary and unlawful,” Charney said in an interview.
Charney described Baker as someone who was “having a mental health crisis” as he called 911 and when police responded.
“The police … are fundamentally not being trained and equipped to deal with people in mental health crisis,” he said.
“Beau didn’t deserve to die.”
Named as defendants in the lawsuit are the Waterloo Regional Police Services Board, as well as Chief Bryan Larkin and two unnamed officers – the one who shot Baker and the one who witnessed it.
The police service declined comment for this story.
“With the loss to the Baker family, it would be inappropriate for me to comment on anything relating to the civil proceedings that are outstanding,” said Staff Sgt. Mike Haffner.
In total, the lawsuit seeks $6 million in damages.