Protesters take to the streets demanding release of video footage after the death of the poet and boxer in police custody
Montreal community members gathered on Feb. 10 to march for justice for 21-year-old rapper, poet, and boxer Nicous D’André Spring, who died on Dec. 24, 2022 while being illegally detained in Bordeaux Prison.
Officials at the prison have stated that there was an altercation which led to the guards fitting him with a spit hood and pepper-spraying him twice. Spring was then taken to a hospital, where he later died.
The circumstances surrounding Spring’s death have led to an investigation into the actions of the prison officials and the treatment of inmates at Bordeaux Prison. The case has gained widespread attention, sparking public outcry over the treatment of prisoners and the need for reform in the criminal justice system.
As of Feb. 14, only one correctional officer involved in the altercation has been suspended, and the footage of the incident has not yet been released to the family. The, Justice for Nicous Action Committee, continues to call for the release of the footage of Spring’s death to advance justice for his family.
The event organizers wore green bandanas on the upper arm to maintain visibility. At the start of the protest, Karim Coppry, one of the organizers, referenced the African proverb, “Il faut un village pour élever un enfant et le village est ici” (It takes a village to raise a child and the village is here), highlighting the importance of the community’s solidarity.
The march began at 1 p.m. and proceeded down Sherbrooke St. W. towards the Palais de justice de Montréal. Protesters chanted slogans like “No justice, no peace” and “When Black lives are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back.” Marlene Hale, a Wet’suwet’en Elder, led the protest with the beat of her rallying drum.
Throughout the protest, Spring’s family members spoke, demanding justice for their loved one. Spring’s sister, Sarafina Dennie, and mother, Niquette Spring were in attendance.
“I’m just looking for justice,” said Spring’s mother.
Spring’s sister also expressed her grief and anxiety: “Every day, I wake up and hear a siren, and I have anxiety — we came here to have a different life, and you took that away,” referring to the guards at Bordeaux.
Protesters marched through Montreal, passing the Government of Canada building while shouting “release the video.” Volunteers wearing construction vests guided the crowd. A child watched in awe at the number of protesters and waved at a police officer on a bicycle, unaware of the fight for justice happening all around her.
The protest ended at the Palais de justice at 2:45 pm. Spring’s mother closed the protest. “I can’t sleep, I can’t eat, I can’t work. I need justice for my son!” she exclaimed.