Bannock and Klik served at vigil for woman killed over can of meat

About 100 family and friends gathered Friday afternoon to remember Geraldine Beardy, who died six years ago over a can of luncheon meat.

Geraldine Beardy died in 2009 after being assaulted at corner store on Sherbrook Street

Family, friends and hospital staff gathered Friday afternoon to remember 29-year-old Geraldine Beardy, who died six years ago over a can of lunch meat 2:05

Family, friends and hospital staff gathered Friday afternoon to remember 29-year-old Geraldine Beardy, who died six years ago over a can of lunch meat.

Mourners passed out Klik and bannock sandwiches, drummed and prayed as they paid tribute to Beardy.

Great-grandmother Eliza Beardy fought back tears to share some strong words with the crowd at the event. She asked the crowd to respect each other and remember we are all human.
Great-grandmother Eliza Beardy (right) and other mourners remember 29-year-old Geraldine Beardy at a vigil in Winnipeg on Friday. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

Beardy was taken off life support on Sept. 18, 2009, after being assaulted days earlier in Okay Groceries on Sherbrook Street in Winnipeg. She was caught trying to steal a can of meat worth $1.49.

"That's one girl I cared about," said Beardy. "Sometimes I feel anger."

At the time, police alleged the convenience store owner confronted Geraldine Beardy and assaulted her when he caught her trying to take the can of Holiday luncheon meat. 

Police have never said how Beardy was assaulted or whether a weapon was used.
Geraldine Beardy, 29, died Sept. 18, 2009, after lapsing into a coma. (CBC)

Beardy's family members said they believe she was hit with a baseball bat and lapsed into a coma after being struck.

Owner Kwang Soo Kim confirmed the attempted theft, but said he asked Beardy to leave. He said he didn't know what happened to her after that.

Kim was charged with manslaughter, but the charges were dropped in 2011 after the main witness left the country.

"I don't even want to think about the owner of that store, it's so hard," said Eliza Beardy.

The memorial was held at Jacob Penner Park on Notre Dame Avenue across from the Health Sciences Centre, the last place Eliza Beardy saw her granddaughter before the assault.

"There is a bench right there; that is where I saw her," said Beardy. "I sit there and say, 'Geraldine, where are you? Why?' I ask questions."

The owner of Okay Groceries was originally charged with manslaughter in connection with Beardy's death. The charges were dropped in 2011. (CBC News)

The vigil was organized by Ka Ni Kanichihk, where Beardy is an elder. 

"When you are living and working in the community, we have a responsibility to stand behind our grandmothers to raise these very difficult issues that we have," said Leslie Spillett, executive director of Ka Ni Kanichihk.

Spillett said the memorial will raise issues of poverty, systemic racism and hunger — things Geraldine Beardy had experienced.

"This happens all the time; this is not an isolated incident. This happens frequently, that people don't have enough to eat in this community," said Spillett.