Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The State Says No Justice for Mohammed Bennis

Almost a year ago a young Muslim man was murdered by a Montreal police officer, shot through the chest on his way home from Mosque. There were apparently no witnesses to the shooting (though tapes from a nearby security camera were seized but never made public) so there was nothing to contradict the cop’s claim that he was merely defending himself. You see, the cop claimed that Mohammed Annas Bennis – who had no history of trouble with the cops or mental illness or anything like that – had just charged at this cop and stabbed him for no good reason. So he just had to kill him...

(For more about this killing see my post Protesting the Police Killing of a Young Moslem in Montreal)

So now the police investigating this have – surprise surprise! - decided that no charges will be laid, i.e. that the killer cop didn’t do anything wrong. Meanwhile, Bennis’ family has still not received any credible explanation as to what actually did happen...

From yesterday’s Montreal Gazette:

No charges to be laid in fatal Cote des Neiges shooting by cop
Montreal Gazette
Published: Monday, November 06, 2006
A crown prosecutor has decided no criminal charges will be laid in a fatal police shooting in the Cote des Neiges district last year.

But even after being told a police investigation has long been over, Mohammed Annas Bennis’s family is still searching for answers that might explain the strange incident that ended the 25-year-old’s life.

Bennis died Dec. 1 after being shot by a Montreal police officer who was assisting the Sûreté du Québec while its investigators carried out a search warrant in a fraud investigation.

Bennis had previously been inside a nearby mosque was not connected to the fraud investigation.

For reasons that have still yet to be made public, Bennis stabbed the officer with a knife.

During the attack the officer, who had just arrived to replace a colleagues during a shift change, shot Bennis and he died after being taken to a hospital.

The investigation was turned over to Quebec City police, who filed their findings on April 13 to James Rondeau, a crown prosecutor based in Rimouski.

Last week, Rondeau determined that no criminal charges would be laid and the provincial justice minister announced the long-awaited decision in a communique issued Saturday morning.

The news release sheds no new light on the incident, nor does it explain why the police officer was attacked.

A spokesperson for the minister’s office said no other comment would be made beyond the press release.

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