Toronto

Hundreds of protesters mark 1 year since death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet during police call

Hundreds of protesters in downtown Toronto on Monday marked nearly one year since Regis Korchinski-Paquet fell to her death from a 24th floor apartment balcony last spring while police were in her home.

Korchinski-Paquet, 29, fell to her death from a 24th floor balcony while police were in her home

The protesters gathered on the grounds of Queen's Park for a memorial in honour of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, 29, who died on May 27, 2020. (Martin Trainor/CBC)

Hundreds of protesters in downtown Toronto on Monday marked nearly one year since Regis Korchinski-Paquet fell to her death from a 24th floor apartment balcony last spring while police were in her home.

The protesters gathered on the grounds of Queen's Park for a memorial, news conference and march in honour of Korchinski-Paquet, 29, who died on May 27, 2020.

Speakers at a news conference denounced Ontario's Special Investigations Unit for clearing five police officers of wrongdoing in her death. The unit investigates the conduct of police that may have resulted in death, serious injury, assault or the discharge of a firearm.

"Regis has not had any justice," Beverly Bain, a member of No Pride in Policing Coalition, told reporters. 

"It's really critical for people to be gathering today to remember Regis, but also to mark that after one year there has not been any accountability, any responsibility taken by the Toronto Police Service for the death of Regis," she added.

"According to her lawyers, according to the alternative investigations that were done, it's pretty clear that there is suspicion here, that the police did not do their job. If anything, the police endangered her. There was a lack of care."

Jason Bogle, a lawyer for the family of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, told people at the memorial that the family alleges there was police misconduct. 

"We recognize that there is something has gone horribly wrong on May 27, 2020. As counsel for the family, we are looking for those answers. We have come forward and we have asked the SIU to reopen their case. They have said no," he said.

Bogle said there is an ongoing investigation into the conduct of the police handling of the call by the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD). He noted that Regis's cell phone has never been returned to her family.

"We are all here now, a year later, looking for answers because we have yet to get those answers," he said.

WATCH | CBC's Chris Glover reports on memorial and march for Regis Korchinski-Paquet:

Solidarity rally marks a year since death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet

4 months ago
2:46
A solidarity rally was held for the family of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, the Black and Indigenous Toronto woman who fell to her death from a 24th floor apartment balcony last spring while police were in her home. Chris Glover was there. 2:46

Following the memorial, people walked down Yonge Street to Gerrard Avenue East, where protesters said police arrested one of the demonstrators. One person was later released from a police vehicle.

Police said in a tweet that charges can be laid at a later date.

Const. Edward Parks, spokesperson for the Toronto Police Service, could not confirm any arrests on Monday afternoon.

Connie Osborne, spokesperson for the Toronto police, said in a statement on Monday: "This is a tragic case. The Service fully co-operated with the SIU investigation which concluded that the officers acted lawfully throughout their engagement with Ms Korchinski-Paquet and her family.

She added: "The circumstances are currently subject to an OIPRD investigation and as such, we cannot comment any further at this time."

Regis Korchinski-Paquet, 29, died on the evening of May 27, 2020 after falling from the balcony of her apartment. (Newediuk Funeral Home)

Korchinski-Paquet died on the evening of May 27 after falling from the balcony of her apartment.

Her family previously indicated that she was suffering from a mental health crisis at the time and her mother told reporters that she called police in the hope that officers would diffuse the situation and take her daughter to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).

Korchinski-Paquet died minutes after officers arrived at her apartment that night. Her family has questioned the role police played in her death. 

On Aug. 26, 2020, the SIU cleared the officers at her apartment that night, saying there are no reasonable grounds to believe any of the officers committed a crime in connection with her death. 

In the lengthy OIPRD complaint, Korchinski-Paquet's family says it wants the independent civilian oversight agency to recommend an investigation into various aspects of the case, and the SIU's response, centring on allegations of police misconduct and neglect of duty.

Peter Korchinski and Claudette Clayton-Korchinski, the parents of Regis, have said they filed the complaint because they want answers to questions about their daughter's death and they believe the police need to be held accountable for their actions that day.

With files from Chris Glover, Muriel Draaisma and The Canadian Press

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