Toronto Police beat to death unarmed 18-year old in broad daylight at York University
by Kabir Joshi-Vijayan – BASICS Issue #20 (July/Aug 2010)
Running from the police is not a crime punishable by death in Canada. Yet this is the sentence 18-year-old Junior Alexander Manon received on the evening of May 5, 2010 when he ran from the police near York University in Toronto. And by looks of what became of the young Dominican teenager, it’s no surprise that youth like him run when confronted by Toronto police.
Around 6:30pm, Manon jumped out of a car and fled police after a random pull-over on Founders Road and Steeles. Police claim that Manon spontaneously collapsed and died of a heart attack while trying to run from them, despite witness testimonies and a pool of blood to suggest otherwise.
The other passenger of the vehicle reported that: “They beat him up, he was on the floor, he wasn’t resisting. Two officers on him, punching him in the face, one kicking him in the ribs… And then five more come and jump on him… He’s not that big for seven boy’dem [cops] to be on him like that.”
A student on campus at the time also saw the carnage first hand: “I was driving to my night class and witnessed the Manon being arrested. At the time I was driving by there were only two officers, one standing directly on top of Manon and stomping on him, the other officer was placing handcuffs on him. My window was rolled down and it was evident that Manon was not in ANY WAY resisting arrest, he was crying for help.”
If the eye witness testimony is not enough to prove Junior was murdered in a most brutal way, just ask his family who arrived at the scene to see their loved-one in a stretcher and neck brace with blood all around him.
So why has Toronto’s corporate news covered up this disturbing evidence, and for the most part, put forward that the healthy Junior collapsed from a heart attack? Why is it that the supposedly independent SIU (Special Investigations Unit) investigating the case, told the police their autopsy found “no broken bones and no anatomical reasons for the death of the 18 year old”?
Both developments prove the unfortunate reality that police brutality is something that is systematically covered up and extended by all elements of the state: the legal system, the coroner’s office (that heads the SIU), the media, and government-funded agencies.
Junior was a resident of the Shoreham area of Jane and Finch, and while the hundreds of state-paid agencies in the area have made little comment on the horrific murder of one of their constituents, the community itself along with the Manon family has been tirelessly organizing since the night of Junior’s death. On Mother’s Day some 200 people marched from the site of Junior’s execution to 31 division headquarters to demand justice, and another 300 showed up at Latin Fever at Keele and Hwy.7 on June 11 for a family fundraiser.
True people’s organizations, including International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement, Barrio Nuevo, Jane-Finch.com and the Justice for Alwy Campaign have got behind the Justice for Junior movement and events will be held throughout the summer that concerned community members should look out for in BASICS Free Community Newsletter and at basicsnews.ca.
What needs to be remembered about Junior’s case is that this individual act of extreme brutality against a young racialized man from a marginalized area of the city is part of a structure of police terrorism that people like Junior and communities like Jane and Finch experience on a daily basis. Just days before his killing, Junior’s neighborhood including his very building were one of the many sites raided by over a thousand police officers from all across Ontario. Junior’s murder also comes just weeks after the Coroner’s Office, (the same one that has put up a fraudulent autopsy of Manon’s body), concluded an outrageously bogus inquiry into the 2007 police killing of Alwy Al Nadhir (see Provincial section of this issue).
While justice in the courts should always be fought for as a matter of principle, especially when the police do something as horrifically overt and brash as beat an unarmed youth to death on a university campus, the only real solution to the systemic issue of police terror is to organize and mobilize for the next attack.
JUSTICE FOR JUNIOR!
END POLICE TERRORISM!