When does a police detention begin? In various instances, the answer to this question may be entirely obscure but nevertheless consequential to one’s constitutional rights and the admission of evidence. Even in the absence of circumstances where police officers employ physical restraint, the Supreme Court of Canada has recognized that law enforcement officials may nevertheless “psychologically detain” an individual. Specifically, a reasonable person may believe that they are simply unable to walk away from a police-initiated encounter and are compelled to respond to questioning. Due possibly to a sense of coercion, this perceived inability may arise even where the detention is or appears arbitrary. Such interactions beg certain questions. How does one construct the “reasonable person” in police-initiated encounters? With what characteristics are they imbued? Because many encounters transpire between police officers and racialized individuals, should the person’s ethnicity or racial background be a constitutive characteristic of the reasonable person?
"Ending the Erasure?: Writing Race into the Story of Psychological Detentions – Examining R. v. Le."
The Supreme Court Law Review: Osgoode’s Annual Constitutional Cases Conference
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