Pubdate: Wed, 06 Apr 2016
Source: Montreal Gazette (CN QU)
Copyright: 2016 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: Jesse Feith
Page: A2
Bookmark: (Drug Raids)


Projet Montreal Candidate Appeals for Calm As Demonstrations Planned

Why Jean-Pierre Bony was in a Montreal North apartment that was 
raided by police last week, or what exactly his role in the alleged 
drug ring bust was, isn't what matters most, said Projet Montreal 
borough mayor candidate Kerlande Mibel on Tuesday.

What matters, Mibel said, is knowing why the 46-year-old was 
reportedly shot in the head with a rubber bullet while he was trying 
to run away.

"It's not a question of whether or not (Bony) was an angel," she 
said. "It's about whether there are other means that can be used to 
stop someone. Was that the only way? There was no one in danger at that point."

Some media reports said Bony was shot in the head, others said he was 
shot and injured while jumping out of a second-floor window. The 
Surete du Quebec, which has taken over the investigation, would not 
confirm the exact details.

He died on Monday after spending the weekend on life support.

On Tuesday, Projet Montreal called for the shooting to be 
investigated by Quebec's new Bureau des enquetes independantes, which 
is expected to begin operating this spring. Party leader Luc 
Ferrandez said he wasn't questioning the Montreal police force's 
reasoning behind the raid, but rather the system in place for when 
police operations go awry.

Under the current system, an outside police force investigates any 
cases where a person is killed or seriously injured by police. The 
bureau is expected to take over that role.

The way police shootings are investigated was heavily criticized in a 
lengthy public coroner's inquest that followed Fredy Villanueva's 
death in 2008.

Villanueva was 18 and unarmed when shot and killed by a police 
officer in a Montreal North park that summer. The shooting shocked 
the community and led to riots and protests. His older brother, Dany, 
who was with him at the time, was also arrested in connection with 
last week's raid. He was granted bail on Monday while facing drug 
trafficking charges.

Among other recommendations, the inquest suggested a plan be put in 
place to better handle poverty and social exclusion, which Mibel said 
the city and the Montreal North borough have failed to implement.

"Three years later and very little has been done, despite everyone 
calling it a priority at the time," she said.

"How many deaths will it take for it to become a priority in Montreal 
North?" Mibel asked. "One life lost is one life too many."

Fo Niemi, of the Montreal-based Center for Research-Action on Race 
Relations, also called for an independent investigation on Tuesday.

"Montrealers expect answers to questions about last week's police 
shooting," Niemi said in a statement. "They also expect concrete 
actions to prevent police bullets from cutting down more racialized 
people in suspicious circumstances."

Two demonstrations have been planned for Wednesday night in Montreal 
North. The first one, starting at 6 p.m., is to celebrate Fredy 
Villanueva's birthday. He would have turned 26 on Wednesday.

The second, starting two hours later, is to denounce Bony's death.

"We are gathering to denounce Jean-Pierre Bony's death and to 
denounce police brutality and impunity," the organizers wrote on the 
event's Facebook page. "The police response to a minor marijuana bust 
was completely unnecessary and unwarranted, and reflects systemic 
police racism against marginalized and poor communities."

Asked about the planned events, Mibel pleaded with those who plan on 
attending to not let the situation escalate the way it did in 2008.

"Of course there's anger, but I invite the population to remain calm, 
and I hope there won't be any riots," she said.

"But I know there's anger."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom