Regis Korchinski-Paquet, 29, is a victim of a broken, racist system.
On Wednesday May 27th, 2020, Regis’ family called the police for mental health support and the outcome of that was her death. This is not the first time the police have been called in the black community when people are in a mental health crisis. Too often instead of offering support, the police have injured or even killed the people in need of help, as in the case of Andrew Loku.
Just like in the case of Andrew Loku, the information given by the police about a knife attempts to frame black people in mental health crises as dangerous. Regis Korchinski-Paquet is the victim here and her life was lost when she most needed support. We know, from her mother, that she could hear her daughter asking for her when the police followed her daughter inside the apartment. Had the police not acted the way they did, her daughter could have still been alive.
We stand with the family in demanding that the investigation gets to the whole truth and that its results are shared with the family swiftly. We demand accountability and transparency.
We need better mental health support for black and racialized communities, who cannot trust the police while in crisis as it puts their lives at risk. There needs to be better processes and responses to people in mental health crises. As mental health issues increase due to poverty, and capitalism, which are made more acute due to COVID, our various levels of government need to consider different interventions other than the police. We need trained mental health community support workers and real financial investment in mental health.
Police interventions are a blunt and ineffective mental health instrumentat best. We need to defund the police and invest in supports for mental health and its intersections with racism and stigma both in education and approaches to treatment. People need adequate housing and livable wages. Mental health is health.
JFAAP stands in solidarity with the Korchinski-Paquet family in demanding a full inquest and answers from the police as to what happened when the police were alone in the apartment with Regis.
We extend our deepest condolences to her family and friends, and call for everyone to honour the family’s request to peacefully raise awareness in protests on the issues that played a role in Regis’ passing.