Rally calling for end to police violence held in Kitchener

Between 30 to 40 people rallied outside of the Waterloo Regional Police station on Frederick St. on Friday afternoon.

The rally was sparked following the death of a 31-year-old Black man on Brybeck Crescent earlier this week in a police-involved shooting. Rally goers called for accountability, change in how police address mental health calls and for police funds to be reallocated to community and social services.

“We’re hoping the community will mobilize, engage and become aware of this,” said Jacara Droog, a social worker and attendee at the rally. “We’re hoping more people get outraged, angry, care about this and start to advocate to their local government.

On Monday, police responded to Brybeck Crescent after receiving calls for a “disturbance.” A police spokesperson said when officers arrived on the scene, they found a man outside with an edged weapon. An interaction took place and an officer fired their weapon, hitting the 31-year-old. He was transported to hospital and later pronounced dead.

The family has identified the 31-year-old man as Nicholas Nembhard and said he was having a mental health crisis at the time.

“I just want people in this region to know that you can’t just kill a person and no one is going to think or care about it,” said David Alton, the co-founder of GroundUpWR, who spoke at the rally. “The police, as a system, need to be held accountable. We also want to be directing energy towards the solutions to bring actual safety to out community.”

Monday’s shooting is the second fatal police-involved shooting on Brybeck Crescent after the death of 20-year old Beau Baker in 2015. The SIU ruled there was no wrongdoing and an inquest into Baker’s death was ruled a suicide. The inquest made 24 recommendations to improve mental health supports to help prevent similar deaths from happening again.

The SIU said the investigation into Monday’s shooting is still underway.

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