Justice For Jamal: Family demands answers at vigil for Black and Indigenous lives lost in police encounters

For many months, the 28-year-old man who died after being shot by Peel Regional Police on Jan. 7 went — in public — without a name, his identity withheld at the request of family. On the books of the province’s Special Investigations Unit, he became case “#20-OFD-005.”

Aside from two pithy press releases from the civilian agency — one announcing there had been a police-involved shooting; another three days later that the man had died — and some early media coverage there had been nothing further.

The man, of course, has a name and a story, and now we are saying it and telling it.

He is Jamal Derek Jr. Francique — a Black man, father of two, a son and a grandson — and on Saturday afternoon, a vigil was held at Celebration Square on City Centre Drive in Mississauga in his name and those of other Black and Indigenous people who have died in police encounters.

His family endorsed the vigil and spoke to a crowd of about 250 who spread out under a clear blue sky. But family members asked not to be interviewed, organizers said, and preferred not to be named.

Francique’s sister said “Jamal was perfection in progress,” and that the family demands answers and justice.

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