The 21-year-old Montreal man who died following a physical intervention at the Bordeaux jail on Christmas Eve should have been released the day before he was fatally injured.
Quebec's Ministry of Public Security confirmed that Nicous D'Andre Spring was illegally detained in the jail as he was supposed to have been released on Dec. 23 following a bail hearing via video conference from the facility.
Moreover, the ministry said two other inmates who made bail that day were also illegally detained since they should have been released the same day. They were released on Dec. 24.
That afternoon, however, while D'Andre Spring was still detained for an as yet unknown reason, he was involved in a physical intervention during which he lost consciousness. He was taken to hospital, where he died of his injuries Christmas Day.
A correctional officer was temporarily relieved of his duties following a preliminary analysis of the incident. An administrator was also suspended.
In a statement, the Public Security Ministry says it will conduct an administrative investigation into the events that occurred on Christmas Eve, "including in particular the illegal detentions."
In a tweet, Quebec Public Security Minister François Bonnardel said he wants answers and accountability for what happened.
"The mistakes made will have to be acknowledged and answered," he said.
At a candlelight vigil on Friday evening at Benny Park in the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce neighbourhood, friends and family remembered D'Andre Spring as a friendly, kind young man who was quick to laugh and help out his neighbours.
But they also expressed anger and frustration at the way he died.
"The system failed us," said Brandon Ragain, a friend of D'Andre Spring's. "The system really failed us. He was supposed to be out on the 23rd. He pled not guilty to his charges. They kept him there, put a spit mask on him.
"He didn't get to spend time with his family. He was a young man who was taken too early from this earth and as you can see everyone came out to show their love and support."
Despite the charges that were levelled against him, Ragain rejected any effort to paint him as a violent young man.
"He was kind, not mean, not aggressive," Ragain said.
Family members called for accountability and for light to be shed on the circumstances that led to D'Andre Spring's death.
"When you're in jail you're supposed to be safe. You're not supposed to die in jail," said Myrna Lashley, an associate professor in the department of psychiatry at McGill University with expertise in systemic racism who was at the vigil to support the family.
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