Human rights group calls for investigation into death of Koray Kevin Celik
A decision by Quebec's director of criminal and penal prosecutions (DPCP) not to charge the officers involved in the police response that led to a man's death must be reviewed by an independent committee, the Ligue des droits et libertés (LDL) pleaded Saturday in light of a coroner's report.
For the LDL, "It is clear that Mr. Celik was a victim of police brutality and that the use of force contributed to his death," the organization said in a statement issued the day after coroner Luc Malouin released his report.
Koray Kevin Celik, 28, was intoxicated shortly after 2 a.m. on March 6, 2017, in the borough of L'Île-Bizard, in the west end of Montreal. In his condition, his parents wanted to prevent him from driving. So they called 911 for help.
The police officers who arrived on the scene tried to restrain Celik using a telescopic baton. However, according to his parents, the officers used excessive force, repeatedly hitting their son with their feet and knees before he stopped breathing and died several hours later.
On Friday, the coroner's report concluded that Celik died in an intervention that "was not done in accordance with the basic principles of good police work."
According to the coroner, the police officers placed themselves in a difficult position and created the need to use force to subdue Celik.
However, the DPCP had ruled in 2019 that "considering the imminent danger they faced and the individual's failure to comply, the officers had reasonable grounds to believe that the force applied to the man was necessary for their protection and that of the relatives on the scene."
"The LDL believes this conclusion was based solely on the police officers' version of events provided to the OIG and that the coroner's report released Friday is sufficiently categorical to warrant an independent, government-appointed committee to review the decision of the DPCP not to lay charges against the officers involved."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on April 22, 2023.