Death of Fredy Villanueva

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Fredy Alberto Villanueva (April 6, 1990 - August 9, 2008)[1] was 18-year old Montreal man who was shot and killed by the Montreal Police in the parking lot of Montreal North's Henri-Bourassa Arena, near Rolland Blvd. and Pascal St. just after 7 p.m. on Saturday, August 9.[2] Villanueva was of Honduran descent.

Incident[edit]

Villanueva, his brother, Danny, and three other men were playing an illegal game of dice in a parking lot when Constable Jean-Loup Lapointe and Constable Stéphanie Pilotte approached them, as their game of dice was contrary to a municipal bylaw.[3] The constables identified some of those present as local gang members, including a known member of the Bloods street gang named Jeffrey Sagor Météllus, as well as another man who Lapointe also recognized as a street-gang member.[3] Lapointe stopped his car and called the men over; all of them complied with his order with the exception of Danny Villanueva, who instead began walking away.[3] At that point Lapointe exited his cruiser and ordered the man to identify himself.[3] Danny refused and Lapointe then tried to take him into custody, concerned that might be armed.[3] Lapointe said some of the men shouted out in protest and began to form a line behind the officers. He said he felt "surrounded and confined against his car." Lapointe said Villanueva fought back, forcing the officer to push him to the ground. Pilotte was subsequently kicked several times and Lapointe was punched in the face.[3] Lapointe then noticed the other four men moving in on him; two of them appeared to be reaching toward his neck and his belt, where his holstered gun was located. One of the men grabbed Lapointe's neck and he realized that his partner "was not in a position to come to (his) defence... and (he) was not physically capable of overcoming these men."[3] The men were ordered to back up but refused, and Lapointe said that he "saw no other alternative than to fire immediately."[3] Lapointe said his concern about the threat of being disarmed by the men was so great that he shot his gun "three or four times," before he was able to remove it from its holster. One gunshot struck and killed Fredy Villanueva.[4] Jeffrey Sagor Météllus and another man, Denis Méas, were also struck and injured.[3] Only approximately 60 seconds had passed from the time the officers exited their vehicle to the time the shots were fired.[5]

Pilotte had graduated from the province’s police academy 18 months before the shooting.[3]

Outcome[edit]

Beginning as a peaceful protest against the officers' actions, riot police were dispatched after bonfires were set in the streets of Montreal North on August 10 in retaliation to the event.[2] This protest would escalate to looting and car torching.[6] Ultimately, one paramedic and two police officers were wounded and one female police officer shot.[7] 71 would be arrested.[8]

The death of Villanueva inspired the International Day Against Police Brutality, organized by Collective Opposed to Police Brutality, to gain greater traction.

The death of Villanueva caused the Quebec government to reform how police shootings are investigated in the province.[9]

The Canadian Border Services Agency attempted to deport Dany Villanueva[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Vigil for the birthday of Fredy Villanueva | Coop média de Montréal". Montreal.mediacoop.ca. 2013-04-06. Retrieved 2013-08-04. 
  2. ^ a b Maughan, Christopher (2011-06-17). "Aug. 2008: Family mourns Fredy Villanueva". Montrealgazette.com. Retrieved 2013-08-04. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Officer who shot Villanueva feared for life - Montreal - CBC News". Cbc.ca. 2010-05-04. Retrieved 2013-08-04. 
  4. ^ Posted: Jun 26, 2013 3:09 PM ET (2013-06-26). "Coroner's inquest into Villanueva police shooting resumes - Montreal - CBC News". Cbc.ca. Retrieved 2013-08-04. 
  5. ^ "Pepper spray not considered: Pilotte - Montreal - CBC News". Cbc.ca. 2009-12-10. Retrieved 2013-08-04. 
  6. ^ "Police racism reports tabled at Villanueva probe - Montreal - CBC News". Cbc.ca. 2010-09-30. Retrieved 2013-08-04. 
  7. ^ Gazette, Montreal (2008-08-11). "Family of Montreal teen shot by police upset about riots". Canada.com. Retrieved 2013-08-04. 
  8. ^ a b "Freddy Villanueva timeline - The Gazette". Montrealgazette.com. Retrieved 2013-08-04. 
  9. ^ Posted: Aug 7, 2011 3:24 PM ET (2011-08-07). "March marks 3 years since Fredy Villanueva's death - Montreal - CBC News". Cbc.ca. Retrieved 2013-08-04.