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Barrhaven murders: Ottawa police admit errors in communications

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Ottawa Mayor Mark Sutcliffe with Ottawa Police Chief Eric Stubbs at a press conference the day after the deaths of six people, including one mother and her four children, in Barrhaven. (Archive photo)


Voice synthesis , based on artificial intelligence, allows you to generate spoken text from written text.

The Ottawa Police Service (OPS) admits it made mistakes last week in releasing critical information about the sextuple murder in the Barrhaven neighborhood.

Six people, including a mother, her four young children and a family acquaintance, were found dead inside a residence from the south suburbs of Ottawa on March 6. The woman's husband and father of the children remains hospitalized.

A 19-year-old man who lived with the family is in custody and faces six counts of first degree murder and one count of attempted murder.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">On the day of this event, police began receiving calls at 10:52 p.m. Wednesday. She intervened a few minutes later. In court, prosecutors said the defendant was arrested around 11 p.m.

The next day After the tragedy, the OPS called the killing a mass shooting when no firearm was involved, repeatedly misspelled the victims' names and misidentified the victim. ;accused.

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The police discovered last Wednesday evening the bodies of four young children aged 2 months to 7 years, their mother and a family friend in a house in a residential area of ​​the Barrhaven district. (Archive photo)

Thursday morning, during an interview broadcast live on CBC, OPS Chief Eric Stubbs mistakenly called the killing a mass shooting.

During a press conference that afternoon, Mr. Stubbs misidentified the man in custody as Frank D'Souza. Later that day, Febrio De-Zoysa, a 19-year-old Sri Lankan national who came to Canada as a student, was formally charged.

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After Thursday's press conference, the OPS sent five separate emails to correct the victims' names it had provided earlier in the day.

The first attempt had errors in three of the six names. The second email contained different errors in the same three names.

A third email corrected two names and the& #x27;age of a victim. After CBC reported other errors, the OPS responded with a new correction. Then, at 3 p.m., they released a final version.

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A monument had been improvised in front of the victims' house. (File photo)

In a written statement, the OPS admitted these errors, explaining that the homicides are very complex cases to investigate and which evolve rapidly.

In the case of the Barrhaven murders, police say there were several credible sources consulted in gathering names, and that some information we received was incorrect.

We also made mistakes when reporting key information about these tragic deaths. This is an inherent risk of the rapid communications we strive to provide to Ottawa residents, said the OPS.

The police statement clarifies that responding officers and investigators are diligently gathering information by contacting multiple sources, including those involved (victims/suspects) , witnesses, family members and, of course, official government databases.

Misinformation is sometimes given to police and we may also make mistakes when communicating with the community and media. When this occurs, we correct the error as soon as possible.

A quote from Ottawa Police Service Statement

< source srcset="https://images.radio-canada.ca/q_auto,w_700/v1/ici-info/16x9/police-fleurs-barrhaven-ottawa-spo.jpg" media="(min-width: 0px) and (max-width: 1023px)">Open in full screen mode

Flowers placed near from the scene of the March 7 homicide. (File photo)

Christopher Schneider, professor of criminology at Brandon University, Manitoba, said Ottawa police communications were incredibly problematic in this case.

Often, a person's competence is judged by their communication performance. If the police do not communicate effectively with the community through traditional media, social networks, it leads to a public perception of police incompetence, analyzes Mr. Schneider.

This in turn could lead to an erosion of trust in law enforcement, he adds.

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An improvised memorial has been established not far from the killings in the Barrhaven neighborhood. (Archive photo)

According to the criminology professor, the ineffectiveness of police communications is amplified when it concerns immigrant, refugee and racialized communities, including Indigenous communities.

These community groups talk among themselves and see, when the media reports, that the police do not communicate effectively in tragic and scandalous circumstances like this. This leads to a permanent distrust of the police and the maintenance of order, he emphasizes.

Darryl Davies, a criminology professor at Carleton University, maintains, however, that Ottawa police and other first responders faced enormous pressure when they arrived at the crime scene.

That probably contributed to the lack of information and consistency of some information that was subsequently communicated, he believes, noting that their priority was to locate the victims and search for the suspect.

They were probably – and understandably – totally taken by surprise, and the shock and horror of the incident was not enough. #x27;witnessing such a thing had incredible consequences on those present at the scene.

A quote from Darryl Davies, professor of criminology at the University Carleton

Davies says this trauma probably more than anything overshadowed any coherence or communication with the public, because that it was truly horrible.

He adds that even officers prepared with the best possible training are faced a challenge in trying to process such information.

Ottawa police have made his best in the current circumstances, taking into account the nature of the events and their unfolding, he argues.

Mr. Davies believes, however, that police need better training to improve their communications with the public in the event of such tragedies.

The police as a whole must have people specialized in communications. I think she should be trained to handle these situations.

With information from David Fraser from CBC News

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116