Debate over police body cameras intensifies after troubling discovery

Michael Boriero - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Tracy Wing was shocked and dismayed to discover that the Sûreté du Quebec (SQ) purchased 169 body cameras and 33 dashboard cameras three years ago, but never used them.
Wing has been pleading with the Quebec government to make body cameras mandatory for the provincial police since the death of her 17-year-old son, Riley Fairholm.
“There’s absolutely no witnesses at Riley’s death so, yeah, I’m really upset about the fact that they had them, and that they don’t use them,” she said. Fairholm was alone, carrying a BB gun, when the SQ shot and killed him on July 25, 2018 in Brome Lake.
A contract document acquired by Global News revealed that the camera pilot project cost taxpayers $560,403. It also explains that the SQ created a two-day training program on how to use the cameras in the field. The program has not been used yet.
“I’m disappointed that these cameras were purchased and it seems like nothing was done with them, so I think the Sûreté du Quebec needs to explain to people why that’s the case,” said Gregory Kelley, MNA for the West Island riding of Jacques-Cartier.
Last year, with Kelley’s help, Wing presented a petition to the National Assembly demanding police officers wear body cameras and equip dashboard cameras to cruisers. Her petition garnered more than 1,500 signatures.
“I think people are really alert to maybe the police have a little too much power,” said Wing. “I think cameras are going to be good for the citizens; I think they’re going to be good for the cops themselves.”
The SQ is kind of like a secret society, she explained, it’s nearly impossible to gather any information from them. The fact that they had the body and dashboard cameras at the time of her son’s death hasn’t sat well with her.

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