Villanueva brother weeps at inquiry
The brother of an 18-year-old shot and killed by a Montreal police officer broke down on the stand Monday while recounting his brother's last moments.
Dany Villanueva was with his younger brother Fredy in a Montreal North park on Aug. 9, 2008 when the younger brother was shot and killed by a Montreal police officer.
The 23 year-old said he was struggling on the ground with a police officer when he heard Fredy screaming "leave my brother alone."
Villanueva said he never saw officer Jean-Loup Lapointe's gun. He heard three or four shots and didn't know what was happening. Then he saw his brother on the ground, he said.
"You shot my brother," Villanueva said he told Lapointe. He said Lapointe responded, "Stop complicating things."
As he recounted the exchange, Villanueva broke down and cried. His mother, in the audience, wiped away tears too.
"Promise me you'll take care of my brother," Villanueva said he begged Lapointe as he was put in the back of the cruiser.
Hours later, a provincial police investigator told him Fredy was dead.
Villanueva admits street gang ties
Lapointe had previously told the court he and his partner approached the group because he believed they were playing an illegal dice game. He also said he recognized Dany Villanueva and another man as street gang members.
Villanueva told the court Monday that he was a member of the Bloods street gang. He also confirmed the group was playing an illegal dice game.
However, Dany Villanueva said he never tried to punch either of the police officer who approached him.
He said he did wrestle with police officer Jean-Loup Lapointe, and that Lapointe's hand was on his throat and that he was struggling to breathe.
Villanueva said he was kicking his legs to try to keep Lapointe's partner, Stéphanie Pilotte, from pinning him down, he told the court.
He denied that Lapointe or Pilotte was surrounded by others in Villanueva's group.
Lapointe had previously told the inquiry that he felt surrounded. He feared that he and his partner were in "imminent danger," he said, so he pulled out his gun and fired.
Officer says he is 'not a racist'
During questioning Monday morning by his lawyer, Lapointe said he is upset because he feels labeled by the news media as a racist. Some reports have suggested Villanueva was a victim of racial profiling, he said.
Lapointe told the inquiry it was troubling to hear the allegations because he grew up in a multiracial family. His sister is of mixed race and he has Latin American and Vietnamese cousins, he said.
"My parents raised me with intense values," including valuing equality and respect for others, he said.
With files from The Canadian Press