Jury Delivers Verdict in the Inquest into the Death of Beau Aaron Baker
On March 31, 2023, the jury returned its verdict in the Inquest into the Death of Beau Aaron Baker.
The jury found that Mr. Baker’s death on April 2, 2015, was caused by a fatal gunshot wound inflicted by an officer of the Waterloo Regional Police Service, but that the manner of Mr. Baker’s death was suicide.
The jury also made 24 recommendations to reform Ontario’s mental health and child welfare systems to address the social and bureaucratic gaps in the province that fail to meet the needs of young people like Beau Baker. The jury recognized the need to revamp police training on de-escalation and interactions with people experiencing a mental health crisis.
During the inquest, the jury heard evidence of the systemic inadequacies of Ontario’s mental health and child welfare frameworks. The jury also heard evidence of Beau’s repeated attempts to reach out to police and hospitals for assistance when he was in crisis. Regarding Beau’s inability to get the care he so desperately needed through the public health system and child welfare agencies, Jackie Baker, Beau Baker’s mother, testified that Beau “wanted to live and that he just needed help to figure out how.”
Beau Baker deserved much better from the systems with which he interacted – health, mental health, child welfare, and police. Prompt and appropriate crisis interventions, including wraparound services, could have prevented Beau’s tragic death. Beau Aaron Baker was just 20 years old.
Falconers LLP is honored to have represented the Baker Family in this inquest.
https://falconers.ca/inquest-into-beau-baker-death-begins-today/ – March 20, 2023
Heather Senoran, CTV News Kitchener (April 2, 2023) – “Family of Beau Baker ‘deeply concerned’ after inquest jury rules his death a suicide”
Gordon Paul, The Toronto Star (March 31, 2023) – “Beau Baker inquest jury calls for ‘youth wellness hub’ in Waterloo Region”
CBC News (March 31, 2023) – “24 recommendations made by jury in coroner’s inquest into 2015 fatal police shooting in Kitchener”
Kate Bueckert, CBC News (March 30, 2023) – “Jury deliberations underway in coroner’s inquest into 2015 police shooting death of Beau Baker”