Inquest into police killing of Fredy Villanueva

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Inquest into police killing of Fredy Villanueva

This is potentially a huge victory for the many community organizations that have condemned the government's refusal to hold a broader inquiry and to treat the victims on an equal footing with the cops, whose high-priced legal help is paid by the taxpayers. This led to the Villanueva family boycotting the inquest. The coroner has now denounced this situation and said that a proper inquiry can't be held under these circumstances. This will be hugely embarrassing for the Liberals.

The most detailed report so far is in [url=La"> Presse[/url], but there are reports in English at [[/url]"> and no doubt elsewhere.



Unfortunately I can't edit the thread title, but I don't want to leave the impression that this is just about legal fees. The root problem is the Charest government's refusal to hold a full public inquiry. The Villanueva family had already said they would not participate as interested parties (although they would obviously be required to testify if called) even if the government paid for lawyers. Likewise, community groups who lobbied for standing had already announced they were boycotting. The police, by the way, have seven lawyers representing them in all (individual cops have their own lawyers, plus the police service, plus the "brotherhood").

This is turning into a huge story in Montréal today.


martin dufresne

I am glad you modified the OP because today's major development is not only the suspension of the inquest but the government now saying it is ready to pay for legal fees. Why? Because the judge has finagled from one of the witnesses - yesterday - the fact that the Villanovas would boycott the process even if they were provided with funding for lawyers, because they - and the community - want a full inquest into the racial profiling and police violence that has been rampant in Montreal.

So the Charest government can now pretend that this not about justice and people's right to due process, but about politics and not letting minorities force its hand.


I don't think (at least I hope not) that the government can spin this in any positive way. They've essentially been condemned by a sitting judge acting as coroner, who's saying that under the parameters set for him, the full truth can never come out. This is the best possible time to demand a public inquiry with full examination of the "root causes", and I hope the organizations that have been lobbying for this take full advantage of the situation. Can you imagine how energizing such an inquiry with wide-open mandate could be?

martin dufresne

Absolutely. Which is presumably why the Charest govt is finally acceding to requests for lawyers, but will do everything to nix a public inquiry that could dwell into the fortysomething murders of Montrealers - many of them from minority groups - by our police officers these last few years.

(Sometimes, I am a pessimist.)


Things are moving fast.

The PQ issued a news release demanding that the government cover legal fees.

Québec solidaire (Amir Khadir) issued [url=another"> release[/url] demanding that the government announce a public inquiry which would be enlarged to include issues of "social and economic exclusion" and racial profiling in police intervention and arrests. They also demanded that Public Security Minister Jacques Dupuis be withdrawn from the file, having lost the confidence of all concerned.

And last but not least, as martin pointed out above, Dupuis has announced in the Assemblée nationale that if the judge acting as coroner makes the request, the government will pay for lawyers for the two witnesses and the family.

Scramble, hide, damage control...


"Quebec government, judge spar over inquest: Probe halted as coroner questions 'credibility,' but Public Security Minister says it must proceed"


 ... Public Security Minister Jacques Dupuis attempted to put a lid on the controversy, saying it's up to the judge acting as coroner to decide on funding and the scope of questioning ...

Under Quebec law, coroner's inquests don't have the authority to expand investigations. Provincial Ombudsman Raymonde Saint-Germain said yesterday she is examining whether interested parties should have a voice at all inquests, and not rely on government fiat to make exceptions ...

The Ombudsman is also examining proposals to change the way police forces investigate each other after fatal confrontations with citizens.

martin dufresne

Attorney General Jacques Dupuis is presently on Radio-Canada arguing forcibly against any widening of the inquest's mandate, claiming to represent the Villanueva family's will to "simply know what happened", quoting "many observers" to the fact that everything is fine now that the lawyers' fees will be paid. Dupuis refuses to answer to questions about what will the government do if the family sticks to its position of wanting a full public inquiry.


Community groups are organizing a two-day show, called "Hoodstock", on August 8 and 9, to commemorate the killing of Fredy Villanueva:

[url=Read"> about it en français.[/url]



[url=Here">'s an English-language article[/url] about the event:


At first glance it seems a little like the entertainment equivalent of a time bomb. A two-day concert and outdoor event to commemorate the death of Fredy Villanueva, fatally shot by Montreal police on Aug. 9 of last year.

But one of the organizers of Hoodstock, scheduled for Aug. 8 and 9 at Parc Aimé-Léonard in Montreal North and featuring a free concert, workshops discussing social justice and a march in Villanueva's memory, says the advantages of the event outweigh any possible risk that the violence that broke out after Villanueva's death will be repeated.

"We're trying to take that energy that might be negative and mobilize it in a positive way," said Will Prosper, who is also a spokesperson for the community group Montréal-Nord Républik, "It's better to have everyone at a single venue. And there will be a huge police presence, which would be the case no matter where it was." [...]

Organizers expect as many as 2,000 people to attend a Saturday night concert featuring Luck Mervil, Olivier Cheuwa, Bad News Brown, Dramatik, Cyrano de Montréal and other artists.

Prosper said everyone was welcome at the event. "I hope all of Quebec turns up. We have to remember that the Montreal North of today is the Quebec of tomorrow."


The coroner's inquest had its last session of the year. Right now, one of the two cops (Stéphanie Pilotte) whose partner shot and killed Fredy Villanueva and wounded two others is on the witness stand, and she will continue when the hearing resumes in February.

I can't find decent coverage on the web, so I'll quote some excerpts from this morning's Gazette, under the title:

Profiling arises at probe

We start with the lawyer for the city and the police ridiculing the notion that racial profiling might be at play:

"If we look at racial profiling, poverty in Montreal North, the direction of the streets or the colour of the walls, how can we ever find out what really happened?"

Then this revelation:

In directives to his officers, includnig Lapointe and Pilotte, in 2008, Station 39 Commander Roger Belair wrote: "Pressure should be put on street gang members and those drawn to them to ensure a peaceful and safe atmosphere."

Yes, the park was much more peaceful after one unarmed youth was killed and two others wounded while doing nothing wrong.

The cops had called for backup - but then opened fire 13 seconds later:

Yesterday, Arsenault [lawyer for one of the youths shot in the back] asked Pilotte why they didn't wait for backup.

"We'd tried to calm him, but it didn't work," Pilotte said of Dany Villanueva.

"What was the urgency?" Arsenault asked.

"It was a question of our safety," Pilotte replied.

"Did anyone ahve a gun?"


"A knife?"


"Did someone pull out a stick or a weapon?" Arsenault asked.


"So what was the urgency?" Arsenault asked. "No one's safety was threatened."

Dany Villanueva "was verbally aggressive and we feared for our safety," Pilotte replied.

Pilotte guessed that the entire drama - pulling into the parking lot, questioning Dany Villanueva, wrestling him to the hood of the car, wrestling him to the ground, then fatally shooting Fredy Villanueva and injuring two others - took less than a minute.

Young people of colour really must learn to watch their language while in the park if they want to come home alive.






[url= supporters hold rally at courthouse[/url]

[url='First time' cop fired gun on job, Fredy Villanueva inquiry hears[/url]

[url= recounts seconds before Villanueva shooting[/url]

[url= police officer explains month-long delay in Fredy Villanueva report[/url]

G. Muffin

Unionist?  One sentence or less, please.


The coroner's inquest resumed in January; the female cop testified; now the killer cop has been on the witness stand for 3 days.


[url= mother breaks down at inquest[/url]


The mother of 18-year-old Fredy Villanueva broke down during the coroner's inquest into her son’s shooting by Montreal police on Wednesday afternoon.

Vivian Villanueva left the courtroom in tears after comments made by a lawyer for the City of Montreal. Once in the hallway, Villanueva fell to the ground — kicking her feet and screaming in Spanish for people to leave her son alone. [...]

The incident happened as the officer who fatally shot the teenager in August 2008 was being questioned by Alexandre Popovic of the Coalition against Repression and Police Abuse.

Popovic asked Const. Jean-Loup Lapointe whether it was true that he had killed Fredy Villanueva.

When Lapointe answered "yes," Popovic persisted — asking Lapointe whether he had intended to kill Villanueva.

Finally, when Popovic asked the officer whether he would agree that the teenager was a victim, the lawyer representing the City of Montreal intervened.

Villanueva was a victim of his brother’s behaviour, of his own behaviour and of the behaviour of his friends, said Pierre-Yves Boisvert.

Although I don't believe in Hell, I am certain there is a special place reserved there for Boisvert.




[url= witness who was shot during Villanueva killing says cops roughed him up over the weekend[/url]


Jeffrey Sagor-Météllus dropped an unexpected bomb today at the coroner's inquest into the police shooting death of Fredy Villanueva when he said police woke him up in the middle of the night last Saturday, roughed him up, then let him go.

Sagor-Météllus has been on the witness stand for days at the inquest into the August, 2008 shooting by Const. Jean-Loup Lapointe and has made no secret of his contempt for police officers.


[url="Stop! Stop!" Fredy yelled: Witness[/url]

Fredy Villanueva was rapidly moving both arms up and down while yelling "Stop! Stop! Stop!" at the Montreal police officer who'd just hit his brother's head twice against hard surfaces when the 18-year-old buckled to the ground -fatally wounded by shots from Constable Jean-Loup Lapointe, a fresh eyewitness called before the coroner's inquest testified yesterday. [...]

Escobar, 44 and unemployed, is of Guatemalan origin. "I was fired" following the shooting, after Surete du Quebec investigators "came to my workplace," picked him up, took him to his home and took a witness statement.

"I asked them: 'Are you going to kill me like you killed Fredy Villanueva?' "

Escobar had been playing soccer with his children and several others next to the parking lot on Aug. 9, 2008.



It is my conclusion that the working class needs to hold their own Citizens Inquiries.

We can never expect the bourgeios state to properly investigate itself.


[url='Shots could have hit anyone': Villanueva witness[/url]

Through her tears, Erika Cruz described yesterday how witnessing the police shooting death of an unarmed teen had traumatized her family so much, they eventually moved out of the neighbourhood.

Cruz was in Henri Bourassa Park Aug. 9, 2008, with her 10-year-old son when she heard four shots fired rapidly, one after another, and she ducked for cover. [...]

Cruz said shortly after the police arrived on the scene, she saw Lapointe use his forearm to slam Dany Villanueva against the side of the police car. Villanueva was squirming, trying to break free, she said, so Lapointe flipped him onto his back on the ground, then flipped him over onto his stomach.

Lapointe then held him down with his left knee on Villanueva's back, she said, while Pilotte held Villanueva's feet.

"I was very confused," she said.

"I couldn't understand why that was happening in the park.

"I personally didn't see that there was anything wrong (going on)."

She heard Lapointe tell the group to back off before and after he shot Fredy Villanueva, Cruz said.


[url= march to commemorate 2nd anniversary of Fredy Villanueva's killing[/url]



[url= unjustified, expert tells Villanueva inquest[/url]


An expert witness yesterday afternoon told the coroner examining Fredy Villanueva's death that "the norms of prudence were not respected" by Montreal Police Constable Jean-Loup Lapointe that fateful, fatal evening of August 2009.

"Mr. Lapointe was not justified in shooting anyone," Francois Van Houtte, a former RCMP officer and firearms expert who served with two elite federal anti-terrorist groups, testified before Andre Perreault, the Quebec Court judge running the inquest. [...]

Lapointe shot three young men.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Thanks for keeping us up-to-date.


The coroner's inquest is over at long last, and now we await his report.

[url="Police everywhere! Justice nowhere!"[/url]


"If Fredy or Dany were white or were Quebecers, this tragedy would never have occurred. My son is dead because of racial profiling." [said Lilian Madrid Villanueva, mother of Fredy and Dany.]

The coroner's report into the death of Fredy Villanueva may still be months if not years away, tied up in court as a judge determines whether key evidence about the safety mechanism in police gun holsters can be made public. [...]

"We sympathize with Mrs. Villanueva - that was the testimony of a mother," the president of the Police Brotherhood, Yves Francoeur, said outside the courtroom. "But the police intervention was justified. It was done as it should have been done. Unfortunately, the result was not what we wanted."

Francoeur strained to be heard over Villanueva supporters as they reacted to his statements.

"Police everywhere! Justice nowhere!" they chanted.


[url= Sagor-Metellus gets six months in jail for theft[/url]

Sagor-Metellus was sentenced to six months in prison on Monday for his part in a break and enter and theft that took place in June 2009. [...]

Sagor-Metellus was one of a group of people playing dice in Montreal North near Henri Bourassa Park on Aug. 9, 2008, the day Fredy Villanueva was shot and killed by Montreal police. Sagor-Metellus was shot in the back during the scuffle.

Meanwhile, the cop who killed Fredy and shot Jeffrey in the back is still free.



There is no justice.


Prior to the dissolution of Parliament, Justin Trudeau wrote to Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews, asking him to stop the expulsion process against Dany Villanueva [Rue Frontenac]. Trudeau says that the fact that the expulsion process was put into motion at the very end of the five-year rehabilitation period (Dany Villanueva has been convicted in 2006 of possession of a firearm and robbery), while the inquest into the killing of his brother was ongoing, renders the decision suspect [La Presse].

I still hope Vivian Barbot wins in Papineau, but good on Trudeau for taking this stance.


Bärlüer wrote:

I still hope Vivian Barbot wins in Papineau, but good on Trudeau for taking this stance.

Yeah, I saw that report - and I agree with you on both counts!!



Unsurprising update - Jason Kenney must have felt the pain of Trudeau's "anti-immigrant" charge, so he's fighting back:

[url= Trudeau's comments on Villanueva are "ridiculous", according to Jason Kenney[/url]

In short, Kenney says: Anti-immigrant? Who, me? Look at all the immigrants we've admitted to Canada! Anyway, it's not a political decision who gets in and who gets tossed out, it's up to the legal system.

Well, he's partly right I guess. Kenney tried to keep George Galloway out, but the legal system let him in.

I wonder if Kenney is secretly supporting Justin Trudeau's campaign? He's certainly making him look good by contrast.



[url= commemorates anniversary of Fredy Villanueva's death at the hands of police[/url]

Two years later, the inquest judge has still not issued his report. The city and the police brotherhood are still engaged in obstructive court actions, at public expense. Meanwhile, phony hearings are set for next September for cops who removed memorial posters to Fredy in Henri-Bourassa park in 2010.

Justice will be done one day.



Unionist wrote:
Justice will be done one day. 

Not by this system.


Another small victory on a long road:

[url=’s inquest into Villanueva shooting to resume[/url]


The coroner’s inquest into the 2008 police shooting death of Fredy Villanueva — stalled for months over legal wrangling by the city and police union — will finally resume Wednesday with testimony by two weapons experts from the Montreal police force.

Despite efforts by police to quash any information about officers’ service guns from being presented at the inquiry, testimony will be heard Wednesday and Friday from Christian Nantel and Alexandre Limoges from the Montreal police weapons section.

The city and police union argued before Quebec Superior Court in April that details about safety mechanisms on the holsters would jeopardize the security of the force, but Justice Danielle Grenier ruled that delaying the coroner’s report on an inquest that ended in November 2010 discredits the administration of justice. [...]

The holster issue could very well be the crux of the entire inquest, since Montreal police Constable Jean-Loup Lapointe said he shot Villanueva because he feared that the young men he stopped to question in Montreal North the night of August 2008 might disarm him. His partner, Stéphanie Pilotte, testified that she never pulled her gun during the mêlée because she wasn’t afraid.



Killer of Fredy Villanueva joins SWAT team


The Montreal police officer who took just 57 seconds to get out of his cruiser, wrestle a young man to the ground and fire his gun four times — killing an unarmed teen and injuring two others — became a SWAT team member in the midst of a coroner’s inquest into the fatal shooting.

Lawyers involved in the inquest into the shooting death of Fredy Villanueva, which is set to resume Wednesday, say the move shows a lack of respect for the work of coroner André Perreault, whose inquest has boiled down to one question: On the night of Aug. 9, 2008, was Constable Jean-Loup Lapointe justified in fearing that the youths he stopped to question in a Montreal North park would disarm him?


Ugh, ugh, ugh.


Yes, I heard that this morning and was really sick. Yecch.




Very interesting and informative (for me anyway):

[url='s quick response to police shooting contrasts with Quebec[/url]


Five years ago, Montreal teenager Fredy Villanueva was shot and killed by police in a park. The coroner’s inquest into the incident just wrapped up in June, and the final report into his death won’t be tabled until the fall.

The officer who fired his gun, Jean-Loup Lapointe, still works as a police officer and has been moved to the elite tactical unit. He was never charged. [...]

The rapid and firm response to the Ontario shooting by both the Toronto police department and the independent body tasked with investigating deadly incidents involving cops (the Special Investigations Unit) was not only lacking in Quebec when Villanueva was shot, it would have been impossible.

Police continue to investigate police in this province. Although a law was passed in May to institute an independent civilian review board, it will be two years before that board is up and running. Public Security Minister Stéphane Bergeron told The Gazette in June that the 24-month delay is unavoidable because of the complexities of adopting a regulatory framework for the new board. Once the rules are written and approved, the government will begin looking for a director and a deputy director, and after that, the board’s staff will still need to be trained.

Ontario, meanwhile, has had a similar body in place for more than 20 years. The SIU was created in 1990 following a report published the previous year by Ontario’s special Task Force on Race Relations and Policing. But to say that things are now perfect there would be wishful thinking, says Carleton University criminology and criminal justice professor Darryl T. Davies.

Quebec would do well to avoid the mistakes made by its next-door neighbour, he says.

“The SIU has a horrendously bad track record for laying charges against police,” Davies said, noting that Marin, Ontario’s ombudsman, published a scathing report in 2008 that called into question the unit’s impartiality, then a follow-up report that noted a failure to apply his first round of recommendations. Among the problems Marin cited was the fact that more than 85 per cent of the SIU’s investigators are former police officers. [...]

According to Davies, if Quebec wants a good model to emulate moving forward, it should look much further west — to British Columbia.



Coroner's report coming this morning... 5 years later...


The media coverage is all over the map, depending on who wants to emphasize which part of the report.

[url= shielded officers in police shooting of Montreal teen, coroner’s report finds[/url]

[url= focus on improving police training and techniques[/url]

[url= Villanueva coroner report blames many 'human factors'[/url]

There were 20 recommendations - haven't read the full report yet.



This is really rich:

[url= Fredy Villanueva coroner report criticizes police practices[/url]

[url= News: Montreal police not to blame to youth's shooting death that sparked riots: Coroner[/url]

There is no reality. Only self-interest and opinion.

ETA: Anyway, so far, the report looks to me like a nice, kind, gentle, understanding, liberal, whitewash. One of the recommendations is that high schools should teach youth how to behave in the presence of police. Another is that police should receive training in how they are "perceived" by ethnic minorities. Fuck off, M. le Coroner.



Yes, I wonder why ethnic minorities, in particular people "of colour", perceive cops' attitudes to be less than charitable?

Especially since most "bavures" (reckless shootings) seem to affect brown and black youth for some odd reason - if not, they affect homeless people and/or people with mental-health problems.


I second the "ughs" directed at this report. "See, you've got to tone down your rage, son, if you don't want to get shot by the police."

At least, the report establishes that the police officer's supposed fear of being disarmed was unwarranted and unsupported by the evidence. (Even though the coroner basically puts on white gloves when dealing with said police officer.)

Le Navet's piece is thus essential, therapeutic reading.


Bärlüer wrote:

Le Navet's piece is thus essential, therapeutic reading.

Very dark satire, but you're right - therapeutic. Thank you.

Where is the full text of the coroner's report? I really don't think I'll like it, but I need to read it.



Here it is, Unionist.