A vigil for Fredy.
Happy Birthday Fredy Villanueva
By: Makaya Kelday
On April 6, a candlelight vigil will be held at Henri Bourassa Park to mark the birthday of Fredy Villanueva, a Montreal North teen who was killed by police in August 2008.
On August 9th, 2008 Montreal police officers Jean-Loup Lapointe and Stephanie Pilotte began questioning a group of young men playing dice, an activity which is prohibited under municipal bylaw. (In reality: the po-po were looking for a viable reason to interrogate these youth that wouldn’t be seen as racial profiling.) The officers attempted to arrest one of the young men, Dany Villanueva, claiming he was in violation of his parole. Dany attempted to resist arrest and the police became violent. That’s when Dany’s younger brother Fredy intervened trying to diffuse the situation. Officer Jean-Loup Lapointe countered Fredy's attempt by firing four shots, three of which hit Fredy, killing him. The two other young men on the scene, Denis Meas and Jeffrey Sagor Metellus were also shot but survived their injuries.
News soon reached residents of the Montreal North community and for the next two days, riots ensued. Reporters on the scene placed 50 to 100 rioters at the height of the riot, with some 500 police deployed to quell the violence.
Officer Lapointe has faced no consequences for his murder of an innocent young man. The case is unfortunately all too familiar to inner-city residents everywhere.
Fredy’s family has planned a memorial service for today, April 6th, to celebrate what would have been his 21st birthday.
As if the Villanueva family hasn’t suffered enough, Dany is facing deportation back to his native Honduras. A rally in Dany’s support has been scheduled for April 12th when he will face the Immigration and Refugee Board.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to see how you can support the Villanueva family and help Dany stay in Canada.
Check out this tribute video created by some of Fredy's friends.