Family of Brampton, Ont. man who died after being apprehended under Mental Health Act speaks out

Click to play video: 'Family of Brampton man who died after he was apprehended under the Mental Health Act searching for answers'
Family of Brampton man who died after he was apprehended under the Mental Health Act searching for answers
WATCH ABOVE: Peter Campbell’s family worried about calling police when he had a medical episode given that, two months earlier, he was seriously injured during a police interaction. Catherine McDonald reports on an incident under investigation by the SIU – Apr 10, 2023

Jason Campbell is struggling to believe what happened on the morning of April 2nd, when he reluctantly called 9-1-1 to report that his brother, Peter Campbell was in medical distress. His brother later died.

“If I wanted him to die, I would have left him doing what he was doing,” said Campbell, visibly upset while speaking about his decision to call 9-1-1.

It was four in the morning when police arrived at the apartment building on Kennedy Road near Queen Street in Brampton, Ont., to find the 34-year-old Brampton man inside the ninth-floor apartment where he lived with his brother and his nephews.

Jason said it all began when he could hear stomping noise coming from his brother’s bedroom and worried about getting a noise complaint.

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“I know sometimes because he’s schizophrenic and he has had his issues, that this could be the beginning of an episode,” Jason explained. He said he started to hear the sound of breaking glass and worried about his children, so he took them out of the apartment and contemplated what to do next.

“By that point and time, it was chaotic. There was blood everywhere. He was out of his room. I knew if it was a mental break, he’s not dangerous. He might hurt himself a little bit but I didn’t think anything serious of it.”

Peter was unresponsive to Jason and was lying on his back, face up.

Peter said he thought back to Feb. 8th when his brother had an interaction with police after his mother and sister called 9-1-1. In that case, Peter was tasered and ended up with serious injuries including a broken arm.

Jason was concerned if he called police again, it could end badly. “I was worried they might do something that was going to hurt him more than he had already hurt himself.”

Faced with no other option, he decided to call 9-1-1 but asked specifically for paramedics. “After we told them we only wanted an ambulance, they forced us to have police at the incident due to the Mental Health Act,” Peter said.

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When police and paramedics arrived, Jason let them in the front door of the apartment building but was told he could not accompany them into the unit.

“From what it seemed to me, they went up there to go detain him. I told him that’s not what he needed. I could have talked him downstairs. I know I could have and I told them that a hundred times,” said Jason, who noticed no stretcher had been taken upstairs.

At first, Jason believed his brother was going to be OK and then he saw first responders panicking and saying they needed all hands on deck. He never saw his brother being brought out of the building but believes he was carried out.

He later learned his brother had died.

Peter Campbell’s brother, Jason (right), spoke to Global News. Global News

In a news release, the Special Investigations Unit said while responding to a disturbance call, officers became involved in an interaction with a man. The man was apprehended under the Mental Health Act.

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Shortly after, the man went into distress and then went vital signs absent. The officers administered first aid to the man until the arrival of Emergency Medical Services. The man was transported to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The Campbell family says they have not been told the cause of death but say it’s telling that in both incidents where police were called to deal with a mental health crisis involving Peter, the Special Investigations Unit had to be called in to determine whether police officers use of force was justified.

Peter’s sister, Michelle, said her brother had commenced legal action against Peel Police for the way he was treated in February. She was there in February when she said officers broke her brother’s arm after he was handcuffed.

“I see with my own two eyes how mishandled he was. Nobody should be treated like that, especially an unarmed man with handcuffs,” said Michelle.

In relation to that incident, the SIU issued a statement to Global News which says that on Feb. 8th, before midnight, Peel Regional Police officers responded to a call for assistance at a residence in Brampton. When officers entered the home, they became involved in an interaction with a 34-year-old man.

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Then man was apprehended and taken to hospital by EMS for treatment of serious injuries.

Peter Campbell’s family said they are anxious for the outcome of the SIU investigation into both cases, especially the one which led to his death.

“I would like for this to never happen to anybody else and just to know the truth of what happened to my brother, and also for the people who are responsible to have to face the consequences,” said Michelle.

The family has started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for the funeral, which is expected to happen in the days to come.

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