Watchdog probes death of Black man shot by police officers in Montreal

MONTREAL — Quebec's police watchdog is investigating a police shooting Thursday that left a Black man dead in Montreal.

The Bureau des enquetes independantes says in a news release that based on preliminary information from Montreal police, a man armed with a knife rushed the officers and they opened fire, killing him.

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Sue Montgomery, mayor of the Montreal borough of Cote-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grace, said the victim lived in the borough, and she offered her condolences to his family and friends. His identity has not been released.

"Once again, my heart is aching and I, too, am angry," she said in a written statement. "This morning another Black man in our community was shot by police."

She said the borough has a history of police shootings of Black men, including the fatal 2018 shooting of 23-year-old Nicholas Gibbs. "The senseless killing of people of colour needs to end," Montgomery said. "Systemic racism is undeniable. It is present in the (Montreal police) and in all facets of our society."

Police had responded to a call made just before 6 a.m. about a man in crisis in the Notre-Dame-de-Grace neighbourhood.

The watchdog, known as the BEI, said that when police arrived, officers stayed in their vehicle as the man allegedly walked towards their car armed with a knife.

When he turned toward another vehicle with a driver inside, police left their car to intervene, and that's when they allege the man came at them.

Steve Fiset of the local paramedic service Urgences-Sante said the victim was in his 30s. He said a police officer was also transported to hospital following the shooting but had no physical injuries.

Montreal police declined to comment due to the BEI investigation.

The BEI said it has assigned eight investigators to the case, who will be aided by two provincial police crime-scene technicians. The investigators left the scene at 5:20 p.m. Thursday and the investigation is ongoing.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 29, 2020.

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