Hundreds protest beating death of prisoner in Montreal

By Joe Young
March 13, 2023

MONTREAL — Hundreds marched here Feb. 10 to protest the death of Nicous D’André Spring, a 21-year-old black man on Dec. 25, a day after he was assaulted by prison guards at Montreal’s Bordeaux prison.

He was arrested Dec. 20 and pled not guilty to charges of assaulting a police officer, uttering threats and possession of a weapon. Despite a judge ordering his release Dec. 23, Spring was left in jail and the next day guards put a spit hood on him and then pepper-sprayed him. He lost consciousness and was taken to a hospital where he died a day later.

“We need the names of the officers who did this to our brother. We need them to be held accountable for what they did,” Sarafina Dennie, Spring’s sister, told a rally following the march.

The demonstration was organized by the Justice for Nicous Spring Action Committee. In addition to demanding charges against the guards who assaulted Spring, the committee is demanding the release of video footage of the attack, the release of the testimonies of other prisoners who were present at the time and an end to the use of spit masks.

Spring had been receiving mental health support, Dennie told the press in January. A guard and a supervisor have been suspended and two inquiries into the assault on Spring are underway. One is being organized by the cops themselves. The other, a public inquiry, was ordered by Quebec’s chief coroner Jan. 17.

While blacks make up 3.5% of Canada’s population they are 9.2% of prisoners in federal jails.