Police officer charged with manslaughter in death of Bony Jean-Pierre
Published Wednesday, May 24, 2017 10:55AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, May 24, 2017 6:37PM EDT
A Montreal police officer has been charged with manslaughter following the 2016 death of Bony Jean-Pierre.
Jean-Pierre, 46, died last year after being injured during a drug raid in Montreal North.
At the time Montreal police said Jean-Pierre was shot by a plastic bullet when he tried to flee out a second-storey window on Arthur-Chevrier St. and died in hospital several days later.
The Surete du Quebec took over the investigation.
On Wednesday, the Crown prosecutor's office in Quebec charged a member of the tactical squad, Christian Gilbert, with manslaughter after Gilbert struck Jean-Pierre in the head with the plastic bullet.
If found guilty, Gilbert faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
The Crown is making no further comment on the issue, and neither is the Montreal police department.
Will Prosper, a community activist in Montreal North, admitted he was surprised by this outcome.
“That tells you in that case there was really some wrongdoing by the police officer for them to lay charges against that police officer,” he said.
Jean-Pierre’s death, in conjunction with the arrest of Dany Villanueva in that raid, sparked a protest that was marred by violence in Montreal North.
The local police station was vandalized, as officers were ordered to stand down by SPVM management.
Villanueva's brother Fredy was also killed by a police officer in 2008 when police officers on patrol spotted several people gambling in a park.
Prosper said that his community has always felt victim of racial profiling
“What we've learned from the past is, like in the case of Fredy Villanueva, is that most of the time they're going to tarnish the image of Bony Jean-Pierre. They're going to try everything to demonize the community, so we are expecting that, unfortunately,” he said.
In this case, Jean-Pierre had a criminal record, while Gilbert was once awarded for bravery by the SPVM after he was shot and injured during a police operation five years ago.
Gilbert had been suspended with pay during the investigation, but the SPVM would not confirm if his status has been changed now that he's been charged with manslaughter.
The officer will not be detained until his trial, and was released in exchange for a promise to appear in court at a later date.