Black man fatally shot by Montreal police in NDG identified as Sheffield Matthews

The Black man who was shot and killed by Montreal police in NDG on Thursday morning has been identified as 41-year-old Sheffield Matthews. The province's police watchdog is investigating his death.

The 41-year-old man died after being shot early Thursday morning

The province's police watchdog, the BEI, is looking for the driver of a bus or a minibus who may have witnessed the shooting. (Jean-Claude Taliana/Radio-Canada)

The Quebec coroner's office has identified the Black man who was shot and killed by Montreal police officers in NDG Thursday as 41-year-old Sheffield Matthews.

The province's police watchdog, known as the BEI, is investigating Matthews's death. The early-morning shooting happened at the corner of Côte Saint-Luc Road and West Hill avenue.

According to initial reports gathered by the BEI, officers responded to a 911 call about a man in distress.

Officers found Matthews, who was holding a knife and approaching their squad car. The officers remained in the car until they saw Matthews approaching the driver of another vehicle. Officers fatally shot Matthews when he charged toward them with the knife still in hand.

The BEI is looking to determine exactly what happened.

Guy Lapointe, a spokesperson the BEI, tweeted Thursday evening that BEI investigators are searching for the driver of a bus or minibus, who may have witnessed the shooting.

Matthews's death comes as the SPVM deals with growing scrutiny about its treatment of Black, Indigenous and people of colour.

On Thursday evening, Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce Borough Mayor Sue Montgomery reacted to the news that the victim was Black, expressing her condolences to his family and loved ones. 

"In CDN-NDG, we have a sad and tragic history of police violence against Black men. The senseless killing of people of colour needs to end. Systemic racism is undeniable. It is present in the SPVM and in all facets of our society."

Montgomery pointed to the police killing of Anthony Griffin, who died almost exactly 33 years ago, on Nov. 11, 1987, outside an NDG police station. 

She also referred to Nicholas Gibbs, a 23-year-old Black man police shot in NDG in 2018 after they responded to a call about a fight. 

Max Stanley Bazin, of the Black Coalition of Quebec, questioned the BEI's neutrality, saying the watchdog lacks representation of people of colour while also pointing to its track record which has led to few charges against police officers.