Police in Canada did not waste much time into the new year before claiming their first civilian victim of 2017. Montreal police killed the man on the afternoon of Friday, January 6. Police in Quebec also claimed the final civilian death of 2016.
After reports of someone being attacked inside a building at the corner of René-Lévesque Boulevard and St-Urbain Street around 2:30 p.m., a man was followed into an alley near the Old Brewery Mission, on St-Laurent Boulevard, behind the homeless shelter. There he was engaged by officers who ended up shooting and killing him. Montreal police Const. Daniel Lacoursière reported that the officers fired multiple times at the victim, hitting him at least once in his upper body.
The man was transported to hospital, where he later died of the wounds inflicted by officers. The person who was reportedly injured inside the building are not life-threatening.
This case has been handed over to Quebec’s Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes (BEI, Bureau of Independent Investigations) which examines instances of police harm to civilians in the province but which is not a truly independent agency. Nine investigators are initially assigned to investigate this shooting.
Disturbingly media reports immediately turned to poor bashing and criminalization of the victim. Some mused that he was a homeless person who used the shelter. Others suggested that he was a drug dealer (see Durfel 2017). None of this has been confirmed or even suggested by witnesses or members of the BEI.
Durfel, Aaron. 2017. “Police Fatally Shoot Man Near Old Brewery Mission.” Montreal Gazette. January 6. http://montrealgazette.com/news/a-man-is-in-hospital-after-a-montreal-police-shooting