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New mural remembers Fredy Villanueva, killed by a Montreal police officer

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A new mural depicting Fredy Villanueva, who was killed by a Montreal police (SPVM) officer in 2008, has been unveiled in the city's Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc-Extension borough.

"I've been waiting for this for a long time. It's incredible," said Lilian Madrid Antunes, Villanueva's mother. "When I saw the picture of my son, I was shocked. Tears started pouring down my cheeks. I saw my child the way he was when he arrived in Canada."

The mural, titled L'innocence de la Nouvelle Maison, or The Innocence of a New Home, is a translation of "villa-nueva," symbolizing what Canada represents to those who immigrate to the country.

The Villanueva family arrived in Canada on refugee status from Honduras due to a land conflict that saw their lives in danger.

"It's amazing to be chosen to share something profound like this," said muralist Monk.E. "That's why I make art; to have an impact on our time through meaningful projects."

Villanueva died on Aug. 9, 2008 at the age of 18 after he was shot by a Montreal police officer in the parking lot of Henri-Bourassa Arena in the city's Montreal North borough.

He, along with his brother, Dany, and three others, were playing a game of dice when two patrol officers approached them.

The constables, Jean-Loup Lapointe and Stéphanie Pilotte, believed some of those in attendance were members of a street gang -- though Villaneuva himself had no criminal record.

A conflict erupted when the men were asked to identify themselves and Dany walked away.

Lapointe then attempted to arrest him and the others obstructed his actions.

He said he felt they were reaching for his gun and he "saw no other alternative than to fire immediately."

Villaneuva and two others were injured and the teen later died in hospital.

No criminal charges were filed against the officers involved, leading to mass protests and ongoing demands for reform and justice across Montreal and Quebec.

The mural in Villanueva's memory was a collaboration between Article47, Emrical, muralist Monk.E and his family.

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