Welcome to the third newsletter from Winnipeg Police Cause Harm (WPCH). We aim to send out a newsletter on an ongoing basis. Each issue will include a news round-up about policing, upcoming events/opportunities, stories from other struggles in Winnipeg, and suggestions for things to read/watch. Please feel free to get in touch with us if you have any ideas or requests for things to include in future issues at wpgpolicecauseharm@gmail.com.


When you say that you're not going to search the landfill, you're sending the message that it's OK to dump people or Indigenous women like trash” - Cambria Harris

In the news

Family of Linda Beardy criticizes police handling of investigation

On April 4, Linda Beardy — a 33-year-old mother of four from Lake St. Martin First Nation — was found dead in the Brady Road Landfill. Within days, the WPS publicly announced that Linda’s death was not suspicious and the result of an accident, unlike the recent serial killing of at least four Indigenous women. But in contrast to WPS Chief Danny Smyth’s claim that the Beardy family had authorized such a public release, her sister Lucy said that she had told police that she had to consult with her family first. Lucy said that “I feel like they took advantage of my grief, how overwhelmed I was, my vulnerability. I feel like they betrayed the trust of the family.”

She plans to file a complaint with the Law Enforcement Review Agency (LERA). Further, the Beardy family is calling for an independent investigation into her death as “we feel that they are dismissive and may not be compelled to complete a thorough investigation of her death.” This is also taking place within the context of widespread criticism of the WPS’ supposed commitment to MMIWG2S, with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs stating “families of missing persons feel time and time again that the police do not prioritize their cases and lack proper effort and cooperation with communities.” On April 7, an enormous action demanding justice for Linda took over Portage and Main for an hour before marching to the WPS HQ.

People tape signs to the windows of police HQ. The closest sign is yellow and in black font reads “justice for Linda Mary Beardy.”

Chief Smyth writes hitpiece against anti-racist scholar’s research into SROs

In mid-March, after a year-and-a-half of delays, Louis Riel School Division finally released a heavily redacted version of the report prepared by local anti-racist scholar Fadi Ennab that was a key factor in the school division’s decision to end its SRO program. Shortly after, WPS Chief Danny Smyth published a hitpiece on the force’s Substack — itself a highly controversial platform for copaganda — that disparaged Fadi’s research, claiming that it was biased due to focusing its attention on the experiences of Black and Indigenous students. In response, an open letter signed by many academics across Canada denounced Smyth’s piece as something clearly “meant to chill research and critique of the police force.” This attack takes on even more significance given Winnipeg School Division’s consideration of reinstalling its SRO program, indicating a relentless campaign by the police to formally return cops to schools. It’s essential that we continue supporting the parents, students, education workers, and researchers who are courageously waging this fight.

Cops exploit officer deaths to fight for bail reforms

Nine police officers have been killed in Canada since September, leading to police forces ratcheting up pressure on politicians for draconian changes to the federal “justice” system (by comparison, an estimated 120 people were killed by police over the last year). Despite only one of the deaths being allegedly caused by someone on bail, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police — which Smyth is currently the president of — is specifically demanding bail reform for “repeat, violent offenders,” which many conservative premiers (including Manitoba’s Heather Stefanson) is backing. On May 1, the PCs announced an expansion of a bail monitoring program. All of this is a calculated exploitation of crises in large part produced by austerity and destruction of public services in order to entrench police and carceral power. Countless more people also die in pretrial detention than deaths caused by people on bail.

Other times police caused harm

Three WPS officers charged with assault

In mid-April, the Independent Investigation Unit (IIU) announced that three WPS officers — Const. Evan Fehr, Const. Barry Knudsen and Const. Tyler Rahn — were being charged with assault causing bodily harm for an April 2022 arrest that broke a man’s eye socket. Two weeks earlier, two Kenora OPP officers were charged with assault and suspended with pay for a similar incident in 2022.

Cops crash yet another vehicle

Last newsletter, we recounted a recent string of WPS officers crashing their vehicles into others cars and buildings. Well, they’ve managed to do it yet again, this time getting into a multi-vehicle crash in downtown Winnipeg that concluded with the cop car smashing into a wall; the IIU is now investigating the incident. Keep in mind that the WPS is the city department tasked with and directly generating revenue from traffic enforcement.

WPS uses forfeiture cash to reinstate community snitch program

One of the subtle ways that police entrench their power is through the constant cultivation of fear and paranoia about people in our communities, especially those who are visibly poor/racialized. “Neighbourhood watch” programs are a classic manifestation of this trend, creating “block captains” of residents to organize snitching reports to the cops. In mid-April, the WPS officially relaunched this program using $50,000 from the province’s criminal forfeiture fund (which, recall, is generated by expropriating things from people who haven’t even been convicted of a crime).

Within WPCH

International Day Against Police Brutality

On Wednesday, March 15 WPCH alongside Bar None, Peace Alliance Winnipeg, MB Energy Justice Coalition, Millennium 4 All and Solidarity Winnipeg hosted a rally and march for International Day Against Police Brutality. The rally was held outside the Millennium library and the march ended outside the Winnipeg Police Service Headquarters. The event involved speakers, handing out materials and resources and a space for community connection. You can check out the live stream of the event on our instagram.

Calling out Chambers’ “thin blue line” posts

In late March, WPCH joined five other community organizations in publishing an open letter calling on the removal of Coun. Markus Chambers as chair of the Winnipeg Police Board for repeatedly posting “thin blue line” imagery (most recently in mid-March). Such imagery emerged in explicit reaction Black Lives Matter and has been banned by many police forces including the RCMP, Vancouver, and Calgary. Despite this, Chambers refused to apologize for his usage and claimed that critics were attempting to “co-opt” his message, an utterly unsurprising move given his relentless cop boosterism. More than anything, it confirms that new Mayor Scott Gillingham is perfectly content with the status-quo arrangement, with his election pledge of joining the police board a vapid PR stunt.

Donations to frontline work

In April, WPCH brought supplies to two incredible Indigenous-led frontline groups, which is doable due to the generous financial donations made to us by community members. The first was a supply run of water, drinks, and food to Camp Morgan Harris, which continues to maintain a tipi at the entrance of Brady Hill landfill (there is an active callout for donations, which you can find in the mutual aid/resources section below). Secondly, a number of our members spent an afternoon cooking 50 meals of spaghetti and meatballs for Mama Bear Clan, a women-led community safety patrol that provides essential services like food distribution and needle clean-up three times a week. Three of us also walked with the patrol. Mama Bear Clan is always looking for donation of food and supplies, along with volunteers for the patrols, so get in touch with them at mamabearclan@npdwc.org or (204) 947-0321 ext. 4.

Horizontal photo of about 25 people in neon yellow vests standing in a line outside the North Point Douglas Woomen's Centre before the Sunday patrol

EPC presentations against WPFG

In mid-April, two of our members presented to Winnipeg’s Executive Policy Committee (EPC) in opposition to a proposal to give the World Police and Fire Games another $500,000 in public funding, along with giving free transit to more than 8,000 athletes, organizers, volunteers, and family members. You can watch the presentations on our YouTube channel or read the text of one of the presentations here. As it turns out, Mayor Gillingham does not like being told that council works for the police union and capitalists.

Upcoming Events/Opportunities

Friday, May 5

This is the National Day of Awareness of MMIWG2S+ and there will be a Red Dress Round Dance and Memorial Walk starting at noon at Portage and Main, followed by a memorial march to the Forks. People are asked to wear red if possible.

Saturday, May 6

Sunshine House is hosting a Neighbourhood Spring Cleanup from 11 am to 2 pm. Participants are asked to sign up here if attending.

Sunday, June 4

Find us at the Pride Parade distributing materials and information relating to our campaign to cancel the World Police and Fire Games.

A square graphic with a background of yellow and print. There is a small WPCH logo (a black badge with the name on white boxes). The text summarizes some of the things we'll be doing this summer including the Pride Parade (June 4), organizing against the WPFG (late July to early August) and PJD (August 10)

Friday, June 9

The next Winnipeg Police Board is happening on June 9 and people are encouraged to sign up to speak (either in-person or online) in relation to the situation explained above relating to Chief Smyth’s hitpiece against researcher Fadi Ennab. Please get in touch with us if you’re interested in speaking and we’d love to explain the proceess and what to expect.

Winnipeg Stories

Community Solidarity Manitoba continues to do incredibly exciting and important coalition-based work that brings together labour, migrant, Indigenous, and social movement organizations to fight for a more just and equal province. In late March, CSM hosted an excellent panel discussion event at Knox United Church about the worsening cost-of-living crisis. You can read a live-tweeted synopsis of the great event here. On International Workers’ Day on May 1, CSM organized a large May Day march and rally that left from the Union Centre and gathered at the Legislature for speeches. We were thrilled to join the event and showed up with a big new “cops don’t work” banner to celebrate the day. The five demands that were issued were:

  • A liveable minimum wage
  • At least 10 Paid Sick Days
  • Changes to make it easier for workers to join a union
  • Full & equal rights for gig workers
  • Health Care for All, regardless of immigration status
A photo taken on the lower steps of the Manitoba Legislature beneath a bright blue sky and sun. In the middle is a large banner that reads "Cops Don't Work." On the right is a WPCH banner.

Abolition Spotlight

Abolish CIRG

In mid-April, a national coalition of impacted communities and more than 50 organizations across Canada (including WPCH) issued a collective statement calling for the immediate abolition of the RCMP’s C-IRG police unit. The introduction to it reads: “This letter is a collective response to the massive number of incidents of violence, assault, unlawful conduct, and racism of the C-IRG police unit in Canada. It is a call for the immediate abolition of this force. It is a call that highlights the establishment of this unit specifically to pacify Indigenous assertions of jurisdiction against industrial resource operations in the province of BC.” You can support this important struggle by signing a series of petitions linked in this thread and reading this excellent piece for Briarpatch about C-IRG.

Mutual Aid/Resources

Donation requests

Camp Morgan Harris: The ongoing camp at the Brady Road landfill is in need of food and supplies to continue holding it down against harassment from police and even fighter jets. Specifically, they are looking for a generator, gazebo, firewood, propane canisters for cooking, stove, socks, hot food, smokes, cedar and sage (you can share this graphic if you like). You can drop donations off at the tipi near the entrance to the landfill. Cash donations are always welcome, and e-transfers can be made to gojoemunro@gmail.com or on Paypal to gojoemunro. If you’re interested in contributing donations but don’t have a means of getting to the camp, get in touch with us and we’d be happy to help.

A square graphic with a light pink background and bright red squares and text. The main text says that "land defenders at Camp Morgan Harris are in need of the following items: generator, gazebo, firewood, propane canisters for cooking, stove, socks, hot food, smokes, cedar and sage. Cash donations always welcome."

Beardy family: The family of Linda Beardy is fundraising at this page to help cover funeral expenses and establish a trust for her four children. Please give generously if you can and help share it the page.

Support Metis land defender facing criminal charges: Red River Echoes is running a cost-matching fundraiser campaign to help a Metis land defender who has been opposing the Trans Mountain Pipeline and is now facing criminal charges. RRE has committed to matching every dollar donated to the fundraiser, which can be found at this GoFundMe page. They asked that you DM or email your proof of donation to @redriverechoes or redriverechoes@gmail.com.

WPCH call for donations: We recently put out a call for donations to help us cover costs of honorariums, events, and printing. Donations can be sent to wpgpolicecauseharm@gmail.com


The National Overdose Response Service (NORS) is a convenient, and confidential 24/7 virtual safe consumption hotline, available anywhere in Canada: 1-888-688-6677

Winnipeg Bad Date List is a confidential, community-run website used for community safety within sex work and everyone involved in the sex trade. Baddatelistwinnipeg.com or 1-844-333-2211 “Check for bad dates - keep our community safe - share information” Questions can be sent to: Baddatelist.wpg@gmail.com

Know Your Rights cards

Experiencing someone in crisis? Call these numbers instead of the police:

  • Bear Clan: 204-306-8571
  • SABE Peace Walkers (Osborne Area): 431-293-7223
  • Crisis Response Centre (24/7): 204-940-1781
  • Need a safewalk while at university? 24/7 UofM Fort Garry Campus: 204-474-9312, UofM Bannatyne Campus: 204-789-3330,

Further Reading/Watching/Listening

The Winnipeg Police Board plays itself” by Irene Bindi, WPCH

The brutality is in the budget” by Bronwyn Dobchuk-Land, Canadian Dimension

Slow ride to safety” by Matthew Teklemariam, The Uniter

Loss prevention at a cost” by Matthew Frank, The Uniter

Report says school resource officer program makes students, parents feel 'unsafe and targeted'” by Danton Unger, CTV News

Episode 24: Socialism and Abolition” by Solidarity Winnipeg, SoundCloud

Displacement = Death” by Meenakshi Mannoe, Spring Magazine

Police refuse to search for their remains, a group could force themby The North Star

Policing Does Not Have Problems — It Is the Problem” by George Yancy, Truthout

We will never give up on defending our land’: Ontario declares 10-year logging ban in Grassy Narrows” by Marco Chown Oved, Toronto Star

Getting to the Root: Unpacking and Dismantling the Family Policing System” by Network to Advance Abolitionist Social Work, Haymarket Books

The Same Burn Crosses: Abolition as Class Struggle” by the Editorial Committee, Upping the Anti

Canada: Investigation into RCMP Extractive Capital Protection Force Announced” by Jeff Shantz, green left

Tags: newsletter