Family sues police following deadly encounter with officers
Published Wednesday, February 7, 2018 3:01PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 7, 2018 9:00PM EST
The family of a man who died following an encounter with police has filed a lawsuit against the Montreal police force.
Pierre Coriolan, 58, died on June 28, 2017 after being tased, shot with plastic bullets, and struck with a baton.
His family says police were too quick to resort to violence when dealing with a man who was in the midst of a mental crisis.
Will Prosper, a former police officer turned community activist, said that Coriolan had three things against him in his encounter with police.
"There were two strikes against Pierre Coriolan and the first one was he was a black man. When you are a black man you are more likely to be killed by police officers in Montreal. You are twice as likely to be killed. The other thing was he was poor, that was the other strike that he had. The third strike is that he had mental health issues," said Prosper.
Neighbours in the building on St. Andre St. and Robillard Ave. called police during the dinner hour on June 28 because of the commotion coming from Coriolon's apartment. They said they could hear him smashing items and screaming, and feared he was out of control.
Several police officers arrived and called for backup because they believed Coriolan had a weapon, possibly a knife, in each hand.
Officers tried to subdue Coriolan with a taser and then fired several rubber bullets.
The day after the shooting the Bureau of independent investigations said police said then fired several times.
A video of the event shows that Coriolan then slumped to the floor but still had items clenched in his hands. A police officer then stepped over him while a second pulled out a baton and struck Coriolan's hands and arms several times until he dropped the object.
On the video police can be heard saying that Coriolan was holding a screwdriver.
Coriolan was then taken to hospital and he died about three hours later.
The incident is still being investigated by the BEI, but Coriolan's family is no longer willing to wait.
They said they have been ignored by police and investigators and still have not been given access to the results of Coriolan's autopsy.
In the meantime, however, Coriolan's family has set up a crowdfunding page to raise money to cover the impending legal fees.