I was doing the research near old Montreal for my up coming post about the homeless and forgotten people of Montreal and trying to get to an area and see for myself a homeless community that was said to have come together near a metro station near Berri Street when I heard and then saw a helicopter and realized that there were police cars and motorcycles making barriers and forcing traffic out of the area by making detours. I have only seen this type of police presence and action when the police are looking for someone and they think that person is still in the immediate vicinity.
I had no idea that the police had killed a homeless man, Mario Hamel, 40 and an innocent bystander, Patrick Limoges, 36, because there was no coverage on the radio. I later caught the story on the internet, but surprisingly the news was a little slow getting out until the violence in protest, of what the witnesses on the street are calling an unnecessary shooting of a mentally ill person, known to police to be mentally challenged and an innocent man on his way to work shot and killed with a stray bullet from a police firearm.
I understand that the police do have a difficult, dangerous and at times thankless job. They are often damned if they do and damned if they don’t, but these deaths by their hands seem particularly pointless. What is all of the training for? Can not several officers with batons take down one homeless man with a knife was shooting him as he fled by several officers the one and only way to go? The police knew where he lived and of his mental condition could he not have been tasered? With the exception an accusation of threatening one of his friends that day, ripping open garbage bags and making a mess was this mentally challenged person’s only crime, so I ask when he ran away would it not have been wiser to let him go home and arrest him later?
An innocent man will not be going to work any more, will not be going home anymore and will not get to live out his dreams, or have a life with his family all because the police had to stop a mentally challenged man from making a mess with garbage, by any means necessary. His children will not have his advice, love and support anymore and for what the need to bring down a charging knife wielding homeless person, with lethal force? His wife will have to raise her children without their father and for what policemen with itchy trigger fingers? What happened to disarming and self-defense training and using the baton? Is the police brass, and the city going to maintain that the officers were in fear of their lives by one man with a knife?
For the sake of argument let us say that they were afraid of this knife wielding malnutrition guy, what does this say about the officers involved. What exactly are they trained to do in this circumstance and how are they instructed to respond to this type of attack? I think that when several officers of the law trained for combat can not bring down one attacking civilian with a knife without using non lethal force than we need to retrain them or kick their butts off of the force. If their superiors are telling them to use lethal force wherever they see fit then there is something wrong and the whole procedure needs to be looked at and corrected.
If this type of heavy – handed action by the police was a rare occurrence it would be bad enough, but we who live here in Montreal know that this is not true and we also know that at the end of the day the police who get to investigate themselves will be absolved of any criminal wrong doing. Two full days after the shooting they were just getting around to questioning some of the officers involved in the incident in the presence of their lawyers.
I do not agree with violent protests to make points about violent acts of others, be it police brutality, or police unjustifiable homicide. Breaking the windows of stores that had nothing to do in the deaths of the two men is stupid and puts the protesters in the same boat as the violent police in my book.
The excuse that underfunding is some how making police officers trigger happy murders may sound good to the city and the police brass, but it does not impress the population of Montreal. We pay some of the highest taxes in the country and they are always going up does that not allow us to expect to be able to get from our homes without fear of being mistakenly gunned down by police trying to subdue a fleeing man with a small knife?
I remember when I was a young man and the police just kept shooting young black males and they were blaming the guns at the time. I mean an innocent young black man was sitting in his car and got shot in the head and died on Sherbrooke Street and the cop was set free. Then there was the young black man who was handcuffed and being led into the police station, when police said he fell trying to escape and the hair-trigger of the gun malfunctioned, the gun went off and the young man was shot in the head killing him, conclusion of investigation, police not criminally responsible. My point is this type of police killing has been going on since I was a young man. The reasons for the deaths are different from year to year but the results are the same people are being killed by the police unjustifiably and that for the idiot who said there is no pattern is the pattern.
I would not care if a thousand cameras saw the whole thing and the guy attacked, or rushed at them, maybe if they the police were not so scared they might have been able to react a different way that might have spared the life of the innocent passer-by. Maybe if the police were not so scared they might have been able to see a different solution? Maybe the next time the police are so scared of one man brandishing a weapon that could have been disabled and neutralised in close combat, if they remembered their training instead of panicking, no one would have needed to die? May the next time before they kill somebody our fear struck police officers should just turn and run away, it could save innocent lives?
- Police should not investigate police shootings: Montreal mayor (thestar.com)
- Montreal police bullets kill 2: homeless man in altercation, innocent bystander (theglobeandmail.com)