Borough Mayor Sue Montgomery weighs in with anger at death of Black man shot by police
MONTREAL -- The mayor of the Montreal borough where a Black man was shot and killed by Montreal police (SPVM) Thursday (Cote-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grace), is reacting angrily to the man's death.
In a message posted to Facebook, Mayor Sue Montgomery writes that "the senseless murder of racialized people must end," adding that "systemic racism is undeniable, that it is present at the SPVM and in all spheres of our society."
The victim of Thursday's police shooting has been identified by the Quebec coroner's office as 41-year-old Sheffield Matthews.
Montgomery deplored that in CDN-NDG, there is a sad and tragic story of police violence against Black men.
She recalled the violent deaths of Anthony Griffin, more than 30 years ago, and Nicholas Gibbs in 2018.
In her opinion, Thursday's tragedy will reinforce distrust of the police.
The president of the Fraternite des policiers et policieres de Montreal Yves Francoeur responded with outrage to Montgomery's comments.
“Montreal police officers are outraged by the totally irresponsible statements by the mayor of the Côte-des-neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough, Sue Montgomery," Francoeur said in a statement. "Her statements are clearly unworthy of her office. Montreal police officers have an obligation to neutralize threats against the lives of citizens or against their own. Unfortunately, this is the case even when the person who attacks the police or the public with a gun is in crisis. A knife is no ordinary weapon. We saw in France this week the damage that this weapon can do in a short time."
The Bureau of Independent Investigations (BEI) will have to shed light on what happened on Thursday. According to what agents have learned so far, the man was in a state of crisis, and he rushed towards SPVM police officers with a knife in his hand before advancing on a vehicle with a civilian inside when he was shot. He later succumbed to his injuries in the hospital.
He had apparently just been threatening to a motorist.
Montgomery believes that trust between the SPVM and the community must be built with a community policing approach. She is calling for a police force that knows the vulnerable members of the community and the various cultural communities.
She said that the SPVM is accountable to the municipal council and the entire population.
Eight BEI investigators will try to determine what happened on Thursday, with the help of the Surete du Quebec (SQ) which will act as a support police force.
-- this report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 30, 2020.