The case that gave birth to Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit
In 1988, Toronto lawyer Clayton Ruby represented the family of a young man named Michael Wade Lawson.
Credit Frequency Podcast Network
In 1988, Toronto lawyer Clayton Ruby represented the family of a young man named Michael Wade Lawson. Though neither Ruby, the family or anyone else involved at the time knew it, it’s a case that's had a profound impact on how police forces in Canada’s largest province do—and don’t—hold themselves accountable.
Michael Wade Lawson, you see, was 17—a young Black man who was shot and killed by the police. After his death, amid a public outcry, Ontario's Special Investigations Unit was created, to investigate cases of police misconduct that resulted in injury or death to civilians. And that’s where today's story begins.
GUEST: Clayton Ruby