MENTAL HEALTH PROFILING
On October 27, 2014, Michael MacIsaac’s family filed an official complaint with the OIPRD in regards to Durham Regional Police Department’s internal file indicating that Michael was severe MHA and aggressive with police.
This classification of Michael was communicated multiple times on the morning of Dec. 2nd, 2013 – both through the DRP system, the 911 system, and to ACO/EMS.
Neither Michael or his family were aware of any such listing with Michael. And we were first made aware of Michael’s listing as MHA in DRP system on June 3, 2014 during our meeting with the SIU.
We question how any person can be on such a list and NOT be notified or aware?
The office of the OIPRD replied that they had reviewed our complaint and determined that it related to a Durham Regional Police File and would be addressed by the chief of DRP within 60 days. We would then have the option of requesting that the Police Services Board review the policy / service and decision. Which we did do, and received what we feel was another dismissive reply.
We were told that Durham Regional Police had apprehended Michael under the Mental Health Act, and that Rouge Valley Hospital took custody of Michael under a FORM 1 of the Mental Health Act; this stemmed from an incident with our cousin in July 2012.
The reporting officer, PC Hartry, used her discretion and added her remarks to the Master Name Index (MNI) to alert officers that Michael was aggressive with police in the event police dealt with him in future. However, a “flag or alert” cannot be entered without a supervisor’s approval.
A Constable Nacarrato approved the remarks with the following notation; “the remarks are entered however the diagnosis had not been determined by a doctor and are entered based on the officer’s own interpretation”.
We were also notified that DRPS has forms of checks and balances in place to address entries into the remarks filed in the MNI, and that remarks in all mental health related incidents are reviewed. And if on follow up the Mental Health Unit deems the comments do NOT suit the situation, they will notify DRPS Records to record the information more accurately.
As PC Hartry was entering “non-conviction comments” to be associated with Michael’s name – she should have looked further into the circumstances as this would have helped her to more accurately explain Michael’s actions that day.
PC Hartry labeled Michael as “Severe MHA and Aggressive with Police” even though:
She was told that Michael did not meet the criteria to be added to the CPIC system
There was NO Form 1 completed on Michael at the hospital – as per written confirmation from Rouge Valley Hospital
She did this although she was still at the hospital when Michael’s wife informed triage and crisis nurses that Michael suffered from epilepsy
Why is there no mention in PC Hartry’s report that Michael had a seizure disorder or epilepsy?
Had the DRP policy of “checks and balances” been followed, and if the Mental Health Unit had reviewed and followed up on the entries made by PC Hartry they would have been notified that there was no form 1, that a “qualified” psychiatrist performed a Psychiatric Assessment and cleared Michael indicating he had NO mental health issues and that this was epilepsy / post-ictal phenomon related occurrence. Also, that Michael was released the following morning after less than 24 hours in hospital – and not up to 72 hours as indicated on a Form 1 hold.
PC Hartry’s & DRP had 2 other options:
She could have NOT written anything in the free form field of the MNI
She could have written the correct diagnosis – Epilepsy. As we are certain that officers would approach an individual suffering from an “epileptic seizure” much differently than they would someone who is “severe MHA and aggressive with police”
Why is there NO documentation to support the FORM #1 that was referred to Multiple times in the reply to our family from DRP dated January 15,2015?
Why did the Mental Health Unit of Durham Regional Police NOT follow up on this incident?
Had they followed up they would have found out that Michael dID NOT have a mental illness, as confirmed by the psychiatric consultation from Dr. Ali Elfirjani from the incident PC Hartry was referring to dated Aug. 1, 2012.
A 46 year old male brought into emerg yesterday by DRP when pt’s cousin called 911 after having an altercation with pt. Wife told triage and later to crisis nurse that pt has a seizure disorder and after a seizure husband will become combative and talks about religious things.
He is not under any psychological care and not on psych meds. He is at the interim declared medically able.
Patient looks his stated clinical age ….
Display found attached, denies auditory or other hallucinations. Not exhibiting any delusions, alert, oriented X 3, meaning-satisfactory.
Impressions: I couldn’t elicit any major psych illness in him
Possible seizure disorder … post ictal phenomen
Plan: No psych intervention required at this time
Psychiatrically clear – no follow up
Also, please see below a letter from Michael’s family doctor, Dr. Jeremy Moody, indicating that Michael did NOT have mental illness concerns and NO history of violent behaviours.
In addition, see below a letter and email from Michael’s neurologist of 13 years, Dr. Danielle Andrade, from Toronto Western hospital, indicating that Michael had a neurological problem (as demonstrated by his seizures/epilepsy) NOT a psychiatric problem. In addition, she also indicates that she has never been aware of any problems with aggression in Michael.
PC Hartry is NOT a qualified medical doctor and should not be permitted to make a medical diagnosis WITHOUT verification from a qualified doctor. She, with the support of DRP stereotyped Michael with little objective evidence to support her perception. It is our position that this action was and is a “form of profiling”.
HAD Durham Mental Health Unit followed up and made the proper corrections to PC Hartry’s miss-diagnosis, then the officers attending the scene on Dec. 2, 2013 would have been better prepared and there would have been no preconceived ideas about Michael on the part of DRP officers.
We claim that this preconceived idea unnecessarily escalated the response of the officers when arriving on scene and those events would have unfolded quite differently if Michael was not perceived to have a mental health issue.
Also, what about concern for Michael’s human rights – as this information was related to his mental health – and we feel the release of this information to officers and EMS attending to Michael that day was nothing less than discrimination against him.
Furthermore, Police discretion is NOT sacrosanct and it cannot be invoked by police in order to give them immunity from liability for everything they do.
Interestingly the SIU response as to how Michael would be on an MHA list and neither him or his family know?
Winslow: it didn’t say there were any charges all it said that from that incident he was taken to hospital he was seen by a psychiatrist and the psychiatrist produce recommendations to the police and based on those recommendations that’s how Michael was listed
Joanne: well so a psychiatrist would bypass Michael’s wife and Michael and would take this information to the police?
Winslow: I can't comment on that part ...
Joanne: We'll be looking into that.
Winslow: Because that's not .. that's not my jurisdiction
Joanne: Seems wrong ... right?
** NO, NO, NO … AGAIN NOT TRUE!! **