Today, on the fifth anniversary of Fredy Villanueva’s death, I would like to express my support for an independent police work investigation unit.
Fredy was an 18-year-old man who lived in the Montreal North district. One day, he was shot and killed by a SPVM agent, unarmed. The police officer in question was never brought to justice, Fredy’s family is still waiting for answers, and the officer in question has been promoted to the SWAT unit.
At the moment, investigations into police work are simply being conducted by another police force. This practice, and an unwritten code of silence within police forces, makes it almost impossible to hold a police officer accountable for their actions, even when a life is lost.
A lack of discipline, and independent investigations into police work, reduces the credibility of police officers, creates a negative image for all law enforcement agencies, and creates tensions between police officers and the citizens they are hired to protect.
An independent investigation service is already in place in Ontario; and they are currently investigating the death of Sammy Yatim, who was killed by police in Toronto on July 27.
The purpose of an independent investigation department is to identify problematic police officers, and remove them from their duties as quickly as possible to prevent accidents and further abuse. The police ethics system currently in place lacks power, results, and independence.
Most police officers are very good people who put their lives at risk to protect the public. These police officers should not have their reputation, and the reputation of force tarnished by some problematic police officers. An independent investigation unit will allow us to have a better police force, and will relieve the tensions created by a lack of transparency, and will increase the credibility of investigations into police work.
On the fifth anniversary of Fredy’s death, I would like to send my condolences to his family, his neighbourhood, his friends, and all Quebecers. Let’s take action!