lundi 6 octobre 2008

Never Again !

Two months ago, Fredy Villaneuva was killed by three bullets in Montreal-Nord

One year ago, Quilem Registre was killed after being tasered six times in St-Michel.


OCTOBER 11, 2008
2PM at Parc Pilon (corner Henri-Bourassa & Pie-IX)

[To get to Parc Pilon, you can:
-> from Henri-Bourassa metro, take Bus #69 east until rue Gariépy, the stop just before boulevard Pie-IX, in front of Parc Pilon;
-> or, from Pie-IX metro, take Bus #139 north until rue Amos, in front of Parc Pilon.]

We all know about Fredy Villanueva, a young teenager killed by cowardly police in a Montreal-Nord park while two of his friends were seriously injured. It was the 43rd time since 1987 that a resident has been killed by officers of the Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM). No officer has ever been convicted in any of these cases for either murder or manslaughter.

We know that the SPVM attempted to violently arrest Villanueva without telling him he was under arrest. We also know that officer Lapointe, in order to supposedly feel secure, had to shoot three bullets into Fredy's body, even though he was unarmed. To shed some light on these events, the government will rely on a doubtful procedure: it will be the police who investigate the police.

Almost one year ago, Quilem Registre was killed in Saint-Michel by six taser shocks. Investigators never questioned the officers involved. As for Mohamed Anas Bennis, this Muslim man unknown to police was killed as he walked by an anti-terrorist operation. According to the official version of the events, he attacked a policeman with a kitchen knife from which investigators never bothered to look for fingerprints.

In face of such facts, we must demand a public and independent investigation into the death of Fredy. However this simple request will not be granted easily. It took over two years of struggle so that the government would agree to launch an investigation into the death of Bennis, which even now is being challenged in the courts by the Fraternité des policiers et policières de Montréal. How can we possibly trust them when they systematically oppose even a little transparency, using all means at their disposal?

Racial profiling, harassment towards youth who are hanging out, abusive searches and more are common practice by police officers. This past January, the SPVM was formally declared guilty by the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse of practicing discrimination and racial profiling. In poor neighborhoods, youth have shocking stories to tell about the cops. It's not complicated, little-by-little, a lasting fear of the SPVM was established among poor, youth and immigrant communities. The day after Fredy's death, in Montreal's disadvantaged neighborhoods, the same question was on everyone's mind: « What if that had been my friend, my brother, my sister? »

We're not going to fall into the trap of denouncing riots, like some community groups in need of government cash did. These kids of events – that happen all the time all over the world - are inevitable when a social class with no future is confronted with the death of loved ones. As long as we don't provide everyone with the possibility of dignified lives, legitimate revolts will continue to occur.

We must say loudly and clearly: never again do we want one of our brothers to become a victim of the SPVM's bullets! We have to organize, in the street, a collective political response. If we don't, the police will take advantage of events to heighten their repression. We must be present in large numbers at the large child-friendly demonstration on Saturday, October 11th at 2PM.

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