MONTREAL – About 200 people gathered at Trenholme Park in Notre-Dame- de-Grace on Saturday afternoon, demanding police forces be defunded, with more resources being allocated to community groups that can respond to emergencies involving people with mental health issues.
The group was protesting the fatal shooting last week of 41-year-old Sheffield Matthews.
Montreal police officers shot and killed Matthews last Thursday, after officers received an early-morning call about a man in distress.
The province’s police watchdog, the Bureau of Independent Investigations, is looking into the incident.
According to its initial report, police say they found Matthews holding a knife and approaching their squad car. The officers remained in the car until they saw him approaching the driver of another vehicle.
Police say officers shot Matthews when he charged toward them with the knife still in hand.
“Until when are we going to keep repeating the same thing?” said Marilhan Lopez, one of the protest’s organizers. “This man was in distress, and instead of being met with care, he was met with bullets.”
Almost exactly 33 years ago, 19-year-old Anthony Griffin, was fatally shot by an officer just outside a police station in Notre -Dame-de-Grace.
In 2018, 23-year-old Nicholas Gibbs, who had mental health issues, was also shot and killed by police in Notre-Dame-de-Grace
Protesters observed a moment of silence to honour the lives of Black men who have been killed by police and several speakers took turns addressing the crowd.