Black activists protest fatal police shooting in Montreal

Organizers of the protest, which drew about 200 people, say police should not be part of responding to mental health crises.


 
Protesters place signs out front of the Toronto police headquarters in Toronto on Monday March 21, 2016 as a group of Black Lives Matter protesters have set up to occupy a space in front of Toronto Police HQ after the Special Investigations Unit cleared a Toronto police officer of any wrongdoing in the shooting death of 45-year-old Andrew Loku from this past July. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston

Protesters place signs out front of the Toronto police headquarters in Toronto on Monday March 21, 2016 as a group of Black Lives Matter protesters have set up to occupy a space in front of Toronto Police HQ after the Special Investigations Unit cleared a Toronto police officer of any wrongdoing in the shooting death of 45-year-old Andrew Loku from this past July. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston

MONTREAL — Police should have no role in responding to mental health crises, activist groups said in response to last week last week’s police shooting of a Montreal man.

About 200 people, including representatives from the Montreal and Toronto chapters of the group Black Lives Matter, attended a protest Sunday in front of the apartment where Pierre Coriolan was shot.

They then marched through downtown, where photos posted on social media showed them climbing onto a stage at Montreal’s International Jazz Festival.

Quebec’s police watchdog says they believe Coriolan, 58, was distressed and holding a screwdriver in each hand when police arrived at his apartment last Tuesday.

According to the watchdog’s account, police first used a Taser and rubber bullets on Coriolan but eventually drew their service weapons when those methods failed to subdue him.

Coriolan died in hospital after he was struck by several bullets.

“Police should not be the first to intervene in mental health crises,” spokeswoman Venetta Gordon told the cheering group at the vigil.

Following the vigil, the black-clad protesters marched downtown while chanting “Black lives matter!” The also carried signs bearing the name of people who died following police interventions.

Montreal police said there were no arrests.

Janaya Khan, who attended the march on behalf of Black Lives Matter’s Toronto chapter, said Coriolan’s death is part of a pattern of police violence against people who are black or mentally ill.

She pointed out similarities between Coriolan’s case and that of Andrew Loku, a black Toronto father of five who was holding a hammer when he was shot by police in 2015.

“Police were called on (Loku) for a noise complaint. He was in crisis. They killed him,” she said in a speech. “Pierre’s story follows along the same lines.”

Last week, an inquest jury ruled Loku’s case a homicide, a verdict which does not carry any criminal or civil liability. The jury also made 39 recommendations, including several aimed at better training for officers.

On Sunday, the organizers of the Montreal protest released a list of demands that includes government funding for black-specific mental health services.

They also called for the development of a national black mental health strategy, data collection on black people’s mental health and on their interactions with police, and that the names of the officers who shot Coriolan be released.


 

Black activists protest fatal police shooting in Montreal

  1. Police don’t respond to mental health crisis, they respond to security crisis.

    When we finally demonstrate the will to have police wear body cameras on duty and those recordings become public during review of interactions, the lies Will be pulled from our eyes and what needs to be done will become apparent.

    There is a product called google glass that allows the wearer to be connected online. People not physically on the scene, can share what the first responder is experiencing real time, and provide advice as required.

    We have the technology, just not the will.

    That or hire more mentally ill police officers, in keeping with lobby group agendas.

    • Source?