communities came together in support of Kay’s family as they demand official condolences and explanations for his death
Protesters gathered at Sun Yat-Sen Park for a vigil and march in support of the family of Ronny Kay, a 38-year-old man who was killed during a SPVM intervention on Sept. 17 in Nun’s Island.
According to his family and recent reports, police were called to Kay’s home while he was in an argument with his ex-girlfriend. Police were responding to reports of a suspected firearm. His family says he was in emotional distress during the incident, allegedly getting shot several times by a police officer before being taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead upon arrival.
The Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes (BEI) is currently investigating the circumstances of Kay’s death.
Kay’s family is asking the BEI, Quebec’s Minister of Public Security, the SPVM and Mayor Valérie Plante for psychosocial services and official condolences.
The march was organized by the ad-hoc committee ‘Justice for Ronny Kay’ formed to support Kay’s family in their search for answers. People visited to pay their respects including local community organizers, and members of the Montreal Chinese community, in which Kay was involved, according to his family.
One of Kay’s siblings, Michelle Kay, expressed her frustration by the lack of transparency surrounding the case. The explanation regarding the death of Ronny Kay still remains unclear after two months.
“The BEI tells us [to] ‘just wait, it can be another six months, seven months’ but for us to mourn seven months without understanding why is simply not normal,” Kay said.
Kay also mentioned how waiting for answers has added much difficulty to the family’s grief, and that she is saddened that the SPVM and other Montreal officials are not sending condolences regarding her brother’s death.
“We are a family that contributes to this society, I speak French, Ronny spoke French, we grew up here, we were all born here,” she said. “And yet, this story of a Montreal citizen was barely covered by the media, it’s unbelievable.”
This case comes at a time when racial profiling and the mistreatment of people of colour by the Quebec police has been gaining a lot of attention.
Director Racial Profiling & Public Safety for the Red Coalition Alain Babineau said Kay’s story is concerning to the Coalition, a group who works on eliminating racial profiling and systemic racism in Canada.
“The other thing that preoccupies us a lot is the way that Ronny Kay’s mother was treated a few weeks after his death,” said Babineau.
According to the Kay family, their mother was picking up a prescription a few weeks after Kay’s death when she got into an argument at the store. The police were called, who proceeded to handcuff her and charge her with a criminal offense of “disturbing the peace.”
“For us this is an aberration because the police are victimizing a victim,” said Babineau. “This mother just lost her child, it’s a terrible trauma, she’s under medication and they arrested her, handcuffed her and put criminal charges on her, it’s very serious.”
Babineau said the coalition talked to the Kay family and will most likely be helping them through the process. For him, the way the family has been treated ever since Kay’s death is unacceptable.
“You can’t do that, you can’t victimize a family who are already victims,” said Babineau. “You have to be human and understand that what they lived through is appalling.”
When asked to comment on the case, the SPVM said they would not make any further comments in order to avoid influencing the BEI’s investigation.