Thousands of people are holding a rally in Toronto Saturday afternoon in response to the death of 29-year-old Regis Korchinski-Paquet, even though there is a question as to whether police had any bearing on her death at all. According to a published report, an eyewitness who saw the young woman fall said she was alone on the balcony outside her apartment and that she fell while attempting to move from one balcony to another.
The protest, shared on social media under the hashtag #JusticeForRegis and organized by the group Not Another Black Life, began around 2 p.m. at Christie Pits park near Bloor Street West and Christie Street. The march is scheduled to end at Queen’s Park.
Police said roads were being blocked due to the large crowds as protesters made their way to Queen’s Park Saturday. “We respect people’s right to lawful and peaceful protest,” police said in a tweet.
Knia Singh, a lawyer representing Korchinski-Paquet’s family, said her mother, Claudette Beals-Clayton, called 911 because her daughter was in distress over a family conflict and was made out of “safety” and “concern.” Singh said the two, along with her brother, met police in the hallway leading to their 24th-floor apartment. He said she pleaded with officers to take Korchinski-Paquet to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) for mental health support. Family members said she was also having an epileptic seizure. When Korchinski-Paquet told officers she needed to use the bathroom, Singh said officers followed her into the apartment unit and that when her brother tried to get her, he was stopped. The family was not in the unit while Korchinski-Paquet and police were in the apartment unit.
Immediately after the death Regis mother accused police of shoving the woman off the balcony, but in an interview today the family lawyer toned down that allegation. The Special Investigation Unit is investigating.