'This is a murder': vigil held for man shot to death by police in Repentigny
MONTREAL -- Days after a 37-year-old mentally ill man was shot to death by police in Repentigny, the demand for answers has grown louder, with a vigil being held in his honour on Wednesday.
Among those present was Dolmine Laguerre, a cousin of Jean-Rene Jr. Olivier's. Olivier was shot to death on Sunday after his mother placed a 911 call. Following the shooting, Olivier's mother said her son appeared to be in a state of psychosis.
“I'm here for my family member and now he's gone. He's been shot by a cop, three times. I think this is the last drop that overflows the vase. We feel it wasn't fair for him to die like this, because he wasn't mentally ill. Instead of being dead, he should have been in a psychiatric hospital,” said Laguerre.
The family has alleged that the shooting was the result of racism on the part of the police.
"I'm sorry. This is a murder. This is not the proper intervention for somebody who's sick," Laguerre said. “He wasn't shooting. He was a danger to himself ... Black people prefer dying instead of calling the cops. Cops should be protecting us, not killing us.”
Quebec solidaire MNA Andres Fontecilla was also in attendance at the vigil.
“I'm here because I believe the family of the victims and the population can ask the question 'Would Mr. Olivier have died if he had been white?'” he said. “On the other hand, should it be police who intervene in mental health crises? I believe it should be up to mental health workers to step up in these types of events.”
Fontecilla added that his party will call on Public Security Minister Genevieve Guilbault to be held to account.