Family, supporters mark one-year anniversary of fatal police shooting of Nicholas Gibbs
Published Saturday, August 17, 2019 5:49PM EDT Last Updated Saturday, August 17, 2019 6:21PM EDT
Dozens of Montrealers gathered downtown to mark the one-year anniversary of the fatal shooting of a 23-year-old man by police in NDG.
Nicholas Gibbs was shot to death on Aug. 17, 2018 in an incident his family said was an example of excessive force and racial profiling.
Family members and supporters demonstrated at the corner of Ste-Catherine and St-Urbain, calling for police to receive more training for situations involving a person in crisis.
A brief ceremony, including a moment of silence and the release of blue balloons, was held to honour people who lost their lives in police operations.
Gibbs mother, Erma Gibbs, said while she has forgiven the police, she will never forget and called for the officers involved in her son’s death to be charged. She said her grandkids have gone through a hard time and miss their father.
“It’s very hard for them, to know he won’t be seeing them going to school and all these things. The family is still in shock,” she said. “Every day I have to live with this. I love my son. He was a very good father. I love him and I miss him every day.”
“How can people trust (the police?),” she continued. “Everyone is saying they are abusing. They have to stop. Enough is enough.”
Civil rights advocate Marlihan Lopez said police “cannot be first responders in cases of distress.”
“I’m raising a 10-year-old black child, so this worries me. The policing that black bodies face daily, nobody addresses this problem as a systemic problem,” she said. “We’re still debating if there’s racism in Quebec when it’s evident with police brutality, whether it be in black communities or Indigenous communities.”
In May, the City of Montreal launched hearings into systemic racism and discrimination, including a lack of diversity in the hiring of civil servants and police and the interactions of minorities with police officers. Lopez said those hearings have thus far amounted to little concrete action.
“When we see policy, when we see it in our institutions, then I’ll be satisfied and I’ll have hope,” she said.