The Conversation: Black men’s mental health concerns are going unnoticed and unaddressed
As written for The Conversation by Warren Clarke, assistant professor, Anthropology, University of Manitoba:
Protesters in Winnipeg recently took to the streets to demand accountability after police shot and killed a 19-year-old Black university student on New Year’s Eve. Afolabi Opaso was an undergraduate student from Nigeria studying economics at the University of Manitoba.
Police officers responding to a well-being call say the young man was holding two knives. Opaso was shot and later died of his injuries. A lawyer for his family said that he was dealing with a mental health crisis and was not a threat to anyone. Manitoba’s police watchdog has transferred the investigation to Alberta.
This tragic death highlights once more the potentially fatal dangers Black men face from police. Research has shown how police-involved deaths are on the rise in Canada, and that Black and Indigenous people are more likely than others to be killed by police.