Protesters are demanding that guards involved in the death of a man in Montreal jail be charged

Nicous D'Andre Spring's sister Sarafina Dennie (left) and his mother Niquette Spring (right) are demanding answers and justice for his death.  (Kwabena Oduro/CBC - photo credit)

Nicous D’Andre Spring’s sister Sarafina Dennie (left) and his mother Niquette Spring (right) are demanding answers and justice for his death. (Kwabena Oduro/CBC – photo credit)

Nequette Spring says she moved to Montreal to give her family a better life. She never thought she would lose her 21-year-old son.

“I have to bury my son,” she said. “I need justice for my son.”

Protesters marched in downtown Montreal on Friday demanding justice and answers.

Nicous D’Andre Spring was arrested by Montreal police on December 20 and incarcerated at Montreal’s Bordeaux Prison.

After a physical altercation in prison on December 24, guards put a spit hood over his head and pepper sprayed him three times. He died of his injuries the same day.

The Quebec Department of Public Safety said Spring was unlawfully detained at the time of the altercation because he should have been released on bail after a December 23 hearing. For reasons still unknown, he was still behind bars the next day when he sustained injuries that led to his death.

Family, friends and protesters are calling for the release of footage of the prison altercation and for an end to the use of spit hoods.

They also demanded that officers involved in Spring’s death be formally charged with murder.

“A young black man lost his life to murder, that’s what it is and it needs to be held accountable,” said Jordan Cassanova, who has known Spring since they were teenagers.

“Too often these things happen and we don’t see justice and that’s what we’re here for now […] We want the person who committed the murder to have justice, a conviction or whatever the case may be. I’m just at a loss for words.”

Kwabena Oduro/CBC

Kwabena Oduro/CBC

Charlene Hunte also lost her son when he was shot dead by police at the age of 22. To date, she says there has been no follow-up and she stands in solidarity with Spring’s family.

“A lot of us black mothers don’t have a voice for us, we lose our children in ways we should never lose, and we don’t have a system to help us or support us with grief or help. ” She said.

Spring was “a big teddy bear”

Springs Community remembers him as a sweet soul who loved music, sports and his family.

Jamal Spence worked with Spring at a community center and says they became close. He says Spring was like a younger brother to him.

“He was nice, he was sweet. A big teddy bear, you could say, just a sweet soul with a smile. He was just a blessing to everyone,” he said.

Kwabena Oduro/CBC

Kwabena Oduro/CBC

Cassanova, who would box with Spring, said most importantly he wanted to make sure people realized Spring was a good person.

“Regardless of what anyone wants to say, how anyone wants to see him, he was a good boy,” he said.

“He didn’t deserve what happened to him. Whatever he did, that definitely wasn’t the answer to that.”

Public Security Minister François Bonnardel declined CBC’s interview request because of the ongoing investigation.

In a statement, Bonnardel said he wanted light to be shed on Spring’s death, adding that mistakes made would be accounted for. He wants to make sure his ministry takes the necessary steps to avoid a similar situation in the future, he said.

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians—from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community—see Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians should be proud of. You can read more stories here.




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