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Man who died after being injured in Montreal jail was in ‘illegal’ detention

MONTREAL — Family, friends and community members gathered Friday night to mourn and remember a 21-year-old man who died in hospital after being injured in a Montreal jail on Christmas Eve.

Nicous D’Andre Spring was unlawfully held in the detention center known as Bordeaux Prison, according to the Quebec Ministry of Public Security.

About 150 people turned out for the candlelight vigil in Benny Park in Montreal’s Notre-Dame-de-Grâce neighborhood, a spot where D’Andre Spring would hang out, childhood friend Brandon Ragain said.

Ragain said the fact that D’Andre Spring was illegally detained made his death more difficult to deal with.

“This is someone I grew up with. It’s tough for me, but his mom is over there crying her eyes out and that’s never going to change,” he said in an interview ahead of the vigil. “She will always feel that for the rest of her life.”

As music played in tribute to the up-and-coming rapper, people held up candles and shouted, some with tears on their faces.

Some mourners carried signs with messages such as “We love you Nicous” and “(Notre-Dame-de-Grâce) NDG loves you.”

Ragain described D’Andre Spring as a “gentle giant” who would help strangers in need. He said he was a soft-spoken young man chasing his dream.

Ragain spoke about Quebec Prime Minister François Legault, who has repeatedly denied systemic racism exists in the province.

“We already knew there were injustices with the system in Quebec, but Legault says it’s not real, but you can see it tearing down communities here,” he said.

The Quebec Department of Public Safety said D’Andre Spring should have been released on December 23 after appearing in court virtually earlier that day.

A prison guard has been suspended over his death, which is being investigated by provincial police and the coroner.

Marie-Josée Montminy, a spokeswoman for the department, has announced that she will also conduct an inquiry into the death and unlawful detention of D’Andre Spring.

Neither the police nor the government have released details of what happened in prison and led to his death.

“I want all these events to be highlighted,” Public Security Minister François Bonnardel said on Twitter on Thursday.

“Several investigations are under way. The mistakes made must be accepted and answered.”

D’Andre Spring appeared in court December 23 on charges of assaulting a peace officer, criminal molestation and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose. He also faced two counts of failing to comply with a release condition. He had pleaded not guilty to all charges.

He was also charged multiple times in 2021 for failing to comply with a release condition and in one count of assaulting a police officer. In 2020 he was charged with robbery, assault and assault.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on December 30, 2022.

This story was produced with financial support from Meta and the Canadian Press News Fellowship.


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