Debola Kay couldn’t hold back the tears during a rally in Montreal’s Chinatown Sunday afternoon.
Her family wants answers about the death of her brother, Ronny Kay, at the hands of police overnight on Sept. 17.
“They killed him,” said Kay, fighting back tears. “He got shot. I didn’t expect that at all.”
According to the province’s Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes (BEI), their preliminary information suggests that Montreal police responded to a call around 12:30 September 17th, about a man who was possibly armed, walking near the intersection of René Lévesque Boulevard and the rue Berlioz, on Île-des-Soeurs.
“My brother was home,” explained Kay, “and his ex-girlfriend came because she wanted to take back some furniture. Maybe she didn’t agree so she called the cops.”
In a news release the BEI stated that their information suggests, “The man, who would then have been located by a police officer, would have pointed his weapon in the direction of the latter. The police officer allegedly fired at least one shot. Seriously injured, the man was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.”
Kay insists her brother was in distress and also traumatized by police with whom he’d previously had a bad experience. She and the family want more information from the BEI, which is investigating the shooting.
The family’s lawyer says the lack of information builds mistrust.
“They’re waiting,” stressed Virginie Dufresne-Lemire, the Kay family lawyer. “They’re trying to fight, they’re trying to go through the grieving process but they’re waiting.”
She points to other cases of death by police in which families also complained about lack of transparency.
Earlier this month a Quebec coroner criticized authorities for having the family of Riley Fairholm wait four years to get answers about his death by police.
Now, the Kay family is demanding a public inquiry, something they believe should be automatic when police kill someone.
“We sent official letters to the bureau du coroner to ask for a public inquiry,” Dufresne-Lemire told Global News, “but they say the BEI has to do their inquiry.”
She believes it could be a year before a public inquiry happens.
There have been calls to have more psycho-social teams working with police to intervene in distress calls.
The City of Montreal has beefed up such a team, put in place in 2021.
“So if Ronny was in distress, we don’t understand. Where was this psycho-social unit?,” said May Chiu, a representative from the Justice for Ronny Kay ad hoc committee.
The Kay family said they want to help make sure these kinds of deaths stop.
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