Cela circule sur internet : Protestors call for justice after a Black Kitchener man was killed during a police-involved shooting


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A group of about fifty protestors gathered outside Waterloo Regional Police Central Division in Kitchener in solidarity with Nicholas Nembhard, a Black man who was killed during a police-involved shooting earlier this week.

Friday evening’s protest was organized by a handful of local groups including GroundUpWR, FightBack KW and Queer Youth Defense.

David Alton, a member of GroundUpWR, held a sign with the words « white supremacy not welcome » to bring attention to the role race might have played in Nembhard’s death.

« This is part of a much bigger system of colonialism that Black people, Black organizers, have been ringing alarm bells about, » Alton said.

« This violence happens over and over again. And so it’s important to talk about not just the act of violence, but also how the violence ties into these systemic issues of colonial power. »

person with sign
David Alton, a member of GroundUpWR, held up a sign calling for the end of white supremacy at a protest outside of the WRPS headquarters in Kitchener. (Aastha Shetty/CBC)

Ryan McLaughlin took part in the protest with his wife and three young children.

« I’m trying to educate my children all the time about everything. Mental health is something that affects everyone, then everyone needs to feel safe having a response that adequately and properly serves that. And right now, I don’t think that happens, » he said.

« I don’t think this is about necessarily the police being at fault. I think this is about the systemic issues manifesting in a way that’s unhealthy. I don’t hold one person accountable or at fault. I think this is about showing the strength of the many against something that is no longer serving them. »

woman with signs
A woman holds up a sign calling for the defunding of police at a protest in Kitchener on Friday. (Aastha Shetty/CBC)

The province’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) said in a media release that Nembhard was killed after officers were called to a home on Monday for a disturbance call shortly before 9 p.m. At the home, the SIU says police saw Nembhard holding « an edged weapon, » leading to « an interaction where one officer discharged his firearm » at Nembhard. Nembhard was shot and died later in hospital.

The WRPS has not yet responded to CBC’s request for comment on the protest outside the central division location on Friday.

Local organizations and leaders react

Nembhard’s brother Andre was there when he was shot outside their apartment on Monday. Andre said that his brother had schizophrenia but had stopped his medication with his doctor’s approval. Nicholas felt his situation was improving.

He said that his brother Nicholas was distressed and had taken a knife with him outside. They’d heard gunshots shortly after that. 

« I couldn’t even believe that that’s my brother that we were trying to get help for because he deserved help, » he said on Tuesday, as he remembered seeing Nicolas’ body.

« That guy don’t do nothing wrong. »

The African, Caribbean, Black (ACB) Network put out a statement this week to condemn the killing of Nembhard, who was described as « a Black man in distress due to a mental health crisis ».

The statement recounted other incidents of « police violence against Black community members in mental health crises, » such as Noah, a 19-year-old Black youth shot by WRPS in 2021, and Abdisalam Omer, a man from Kitchener who was beaten by local police officers in 2020.

About fifty people attended the protest outside of the WRPS Central Division building in Kitchener. (Aastha Shetty/CBC)

The news of Nembhard’s death also brought in reaction from local community leaders like Kitchener Centre MP Mike Morrice, who shared his thoughts in a social media post on Friday.

« When a member of our community calls the police, especially when in the midst of a mental health crisis, they expect to be kept safe from danger. They don’t expect to end up dead, » Morrice said in his post.

« It’s clear: we must continue to demand more accountability from the WRPS. »

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