Police search for suspects tied to Montreal North protest

Five people have been brought in for questioning after police say protesters vandalized cars, smashed windows and set fires. Cmdr. Ian Lafrenière says "the people who were there peacefully disappeared. What we got was people with bad intentions."

Protesters vandalize cars, smash windows, set fires after march and vigil

Protesters vandalize cars, smash windows, set fires after fatal police shooting in Montreal North 2:26

Montreal police are looking for suspects connected to the protest that turned violent in Montreal North, but stressed they don't believe anyone from the community is involved.

Montreal police Cmdr. Ian Lafrenière told CBC Montreal's Daybreak that the vigil and march to denounce the death of Jean-Pierre Bony, a 46-year-old black man, during a police intervention were peaceful.

"The people who were there peacefully disappeared. What we got was people with bad intentions," Lafrenière said.

"We don't believe it is anyone from Montreal North."

Cars were set on fire late Wednesday evening in Montreal North. (Radio-Canada)

A small group of protesters vandalized cars, set fire to a bank and threw projectiles at a police station.

Lafrenière says protesters made hoax calls to the police in order to split up officers and divert them from the march.

The violence erupted nearly five blocks from the march, around 9:15 p.m.

"What happened is deplorable," Montreal North interim mayor Chantal Rossi said. "The demonstration was peaceful."

Montreal police officers intervened when the march turned violent. (Radio-Canada)

The window of a Bank of Montreal branch was smashed, and a fire was set inside. Bricks were also lobbed at police station 39 on Henri-Bourassa Street East.

Police in riot gear dispersed the vandals, with the  turmoil ending around 10:15 p.m.

Five people were brought in for questioning, but no arrests have been made, according to Lafrenière.

"This is really far from being over," Lafrenière said.

'That person doesn't deserve death'

Community members had gathered to commemorate what would have been the 26th birthday of Fredy Villanueva, who died at the hands of Montreal police in 2008.

The vigil then turned into a march to protest the death of Bony, who was shot in the head by a Montreal police officer last Thursday with a rubber or plastic bullet. He died of his injuries earlier this week.

Fredy Villanueva was remembered during the 6 p.m. vigil. (Radio-Canada)

"Even if somebody does something bad, that person doesn't deserve death," Don Harley Fils-Aimé, the spokesperson for Regroupement d'intervenants d'origine haïtienne de Montréal-Nord,​ told CBC Montreal's Daybreak.

A total of 11 people were arrested in the drug bust on March 31. Two suspects, including Bony, tried to flee the scene.

Dany Villanueva, the brother of slained Fredy Villanueva, was also arrested during the raid and released on bail earlier this week.

A small group of protesters vandalized shops and a bank during the evening. (Radio-Canada)

Investigation underway

The Sûreté du Québec have been in charge of the investigation since the shooting, since provincial law stipulates that a police shooting resulting in death or injury must be investigated by another force. 

The SQ has met with the officers involved in Bony's death but remain tight-lipped.

Quebec's Human Rights Commission has criticized the government for long delays in opening an independent bureau to investigate shootings, serious injuries and deaths involving a police officer. 

The provincial government voted three years ago to create the independent bureau, but it is still not operational. 

Those delays send "the wrong message to the public," according to Renée Dupuis, the commission's vice-president. 


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