Anthony Heffernan's shooting by police prompts protest rally
Anthony Heffernan was fatally shot by police at a motel in northeast Calgary on March 16
Supporters of a young man shot and killed by police at a northeast motel last month gathered today for a rally downtown.
Anthony Heffernan's family led a crowd of friends and strangers on a march from the Calgary courthouse to city hall to remember the young man and appeal for justice.
"We had his funeral last week but there's a big hole in our hearts right now. I think the only way we're going to get closure is justice for Anthony, for what this cop did to our family," said Heffernan's brother, Grant.
"This cop shot and killed my brother and he was unarmed, so we want everyone to know about this."
Heffernan, 27, died in the Super 8 motel on Barlow Trail on March 16 after police responded to a report of a man behaving strangely.
Police said Anthony was agitated and in medical distress inside the locked motel room. Once inside, officers say they were confronted with a high-risk situation that escalated to the point where a firearm was discharged.
The Heffernan family is critical of Calgary police's actions.
"Interim Police Chief Paul Cook said this was a high-risk situation. Yes, it certainly was for Anthony, but in no way was it a high-risk situation for five armed police officers," Pat Heffernan, the man's father, told the crowd that gathered at city hall.
Around 100 people attended the rally, organized by Cop Block — a group of people described as being united by a shared goal of police accountability.
"I understand there are dedicated officers out there, those aren't the focus," said organizer Cherry Deitrich. "What we like to do is raise awareness of police misconduct and excessive force and those are the focus of our advocacy."
The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team is investigating the shooting.
The family has created a website to honour Anthony and help them gather more information about the shooting.