Thousands of people took to the streets on Saturday demanding justice for Regis Korchinski-Paquet, three days after the 29-year-old woman fell to her death from a High Park highrise, in an incident that is now under investigation by Ontario’s civilian police watchdog.
A group called Not Another Black Life organized the protest, which began at Christie Pits Park early Saturday afternoon and culminated hours later outside Toronto police headquarters on College Street — though hundreds continued the protest long after organizers asked the crowd to disperse.
With controversy mounting over Korchinski-Paquet’s death — and on the heels of other high-profile deaths involving police in both Canada and the United States, where some of the ensuing protests turned violent — her family began the day by issuing a statement urging a peaceful gathering in their loved one’s name.
“This is what we call solidarity,” a woman identified only as a member of Korchinski-Paquet’s family said as she addressed the large crowd at the end of the march from the back of a pickup truck carrying a speaker system. “When we come together for a cause, this is what happens. It’s good to know Black people can come out and protest peacefully. We don’t need any violence … but we want answers.”
She reiterated the family’s call for details from the police, requesting names, badge numbers and information about whoever was in the apartment with Korchinski-Paquet when she plunged 24 storeys to her death. Korchinski-Paquet’s mother had called police on Wednesday because her daughter was in distress over a family conflict and needed to be taken to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, according to Knia Singh, a Toronto human rights lawyer who is the family spokesperson. Her death is now the subject of an investigation by Ontario’s civilian police watchdog, the Special Investigations Unit.