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Organizers uninvite Montreal police chief to Sunday protest
MONTREAL -- The organizers of Sunday's protest against police brutality and racial profiling have uninvited Montreal police chief Sylvain Caron from participating.
Montreal police (SPVM) chief Sylvain Caron expressed a desire to participate in Sunday’s protest Friday. Saturday morning, organizers "Nous sommes la ligue des noirs nouvelle generation" posted on its Facebook page that the invitation was cancelled.
"Unfortunately, I have to cancel the invitation to the chief of police," a post from organizer Anastasia Marcelin reads. "Citizens are terrified at the idea of him being there. This is the consequence when we lose confidence in an institution that should be there for our security, which has chosen to brutalize us."
The SPVM responded: "We welcome your decision with respect. It was an open gesture marked by good intentions from the SPVM. Rest assured that this decision does not change our commitment to effect changes."
Other groups immediately responsded negatively to Caron's desire to participate in the protest.
In a joint statement from the groups “Hoodstock," "Justice for Victims of Police Killings” and “Tout Le Hood en Parle,” the groups opposed the SPVM chief participating.
“We want to express our opposition to the presence of the Montreal police chief at a demonstration against police violence and brutality, which amounts to reinforcing police impunity,” the statement reads. “It is also disrespectful to the victims of police violence and impunity, including those people killed by the Montreal police.”
"There are underlining grievances when it comes to the brutality, the carding and the killing of black people by police officers," said community activist Balarama Holness. "While there is a time for reconciliation, I believe there's still a time for healing and right now, many people in the community have not healed. One of the reasons is because justice has not been served."
Caron announced Friday that he wished to participate in the protest during a news conference where he announced a new policy to combat racial profiling.
The plan will be released July 8, five months later than initially planned, and will take at least a few months to be fully implemented, he said.
In the news conference, Caron said he invited organizers to meet him before Sunday’s event to discuss any security issues.
He would not say whether he would take a knee in solidarity with protesters as many police chiefs and officers have done in protests across the continent that were sparked by the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd, who was killed by a policeman who knelt on his throat for more than eight minutes.
That officer, Derek Chauvin, is now facing second-degree murder charges, and the three colleagues who were on the scene and did not intervene are also facing criminal charges for aiding and abetting.