Solidarity march for Godfred Addai draws over 100 to downtown core
Protesters call for change after Black Calgarian beaten by police in 2013
Protesters filled Calgary's downtown streets on Thursday in solidarity with Godfred Addai.
The 32-year-old Black Calgarian was dropped off far from his home in the dead of winter by a police constable and then beaten by another officer, which was caught on video, in 2013.
A recent documentary, Above The Law, brought Addai's case back into the spotlight.
One of the officers involved has since been convicted of an unrelated aggravated assault while the judge presiding over Addai's trial for assaulting a police officer rejected the other officer's version of events. Addai was found not guilty.
More than a hundred Calgarians protested Addai's case and called for change within the city's police force.
"Nobody should be above the law. But we've seen time and time and time and time again, especially when it comes down to Black and Indigenous people in Calgary, that police are able to get away with assault, they're able to get away with shootings, they're able to get away with heinous crimes, hate crimes," said Adam Massiah, CEO of the United Black People's Allyship.
"Out of the 2,200 officers that exist within Calgary, although it's such a diverse city and there are so many different cultures, there are eight diversity officers that are trained to work with different communities and different ethnicities and different cultures. Eight out of 2,200. That is a problem in itself."
Miah McIntosh said she was outraged by the way Addai was treated by police. She said she will keep protesting for equality until she sees it herself.
"It's disgusting the way Black and Indigenous people are getting treated in Canada," McIntosh said.
"It feels like not many people are caring and this is still going on. Black Lives Matter, MMIW, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, isn't a trend — it's a movement. It's for life. Like, I'm gonna be fighting this for life."
Baptist Abushaka drove all the way from High River to join the march.
"I just want to let people know that this stuff happens. Lots of people think racism is not that bad, but it really is that bad," Abushaka said.
Although the protest was in Addai's honour, he didn't attend.
Massiah said the heavy police presence at the protest likely deterred Addai due to his PTSD.
But said the marchers stand with him in spirit.
For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of.
With files from Joel Dryden