NEWS
02/12/2014 08:14 EST | Updated 04/14/2014 05:59 EDT

Police shooting inquest verdict due today

The jury presiding over an inquest into the deaths of three mentally ill Toronto residents in confrontations with police is expected to deliver its verdict today.

The inquest has been examining the deaths of Reyal Jardine-Douglas, Sylvia Klibingaitis and Michael Eligon, who were all gunned down after approaching police with knives or scissors.

The five-member jury has spent the past three weeks deciding which — if any — of 220 proposed recommendations submitted by various parties were worthy of their endorsement.

Lawyers for police warned jurors not to micromanage officers and their training.

But families of the victims pushed the jury to recommend police take a person's mental state into consideration and make every attempt at de-escalation when dealing with someone in crisis.

The inquest heard that when an officer is faced with an individual advancing with a weapon, their response is based on the person's behaviour and not their mental state.

All three inquests are mandatory under the Coroners Act, but will be held as one inquest because of the similarities of the circumstances surrounding the deaths.   

No officers were charged with a criminal offence in any of the three cases.

The three cases

Michael Eligon, 29, died Feb. 3, 2012 Eligon had left Toronto East General Hospital, where he had been involuntarily admitted under the Mental Health Act.

He was dressed in a hospital gown and armed with two pairs of scissors he tried to steal at a nearby convenience store, the Special Investigations Unit said in its report on Eligon's shooting.

After the store owner confronted Eligon, he cut the store owner's left hand with the scissors, prompting the owner to call 911. Police officers in the area were notified about a suspect getting stabbed by a patient who fled the hospital.

Eligon later demanded car keys from two different women and police responded to the call about a carjacking.

When Eligon tried breaking into two homes a dozen officers drove to the area and repeatedly demanded Eligon drop the scissors in his hand. As he moved toward police, one of the officers shot him.

Reyal Jardine-Douglas, 25, died Aug. 29, 2010 Toronto police confronted Jardine-Douglas on a public transit bus after they received a call about him acting irrationally.

When Jardine-Douglas pulled out a knife out of his bag, officers repeatedly asked him to drop it and walked backward on the bus. Jardine-Douglas continued to approach the officer with the weapon, after which an officer shot him.

Sylvia Klibingaitis, died Oct. 7, 2011  Klibingaitis called 911 from her home and said she was going to commit a crime. When officers went to her house, She walked toward the officers with the knife in her hand in what the SIU called a threatening manner. She did not drop the knife in response to officers' demands and when she moved closer she was shot.

MORE:cbcNews