latest homeless murder by cop - Here's another "Broken Window"

Coalition on Homelessness, SF (coh@sfo.com)
Sat, 11 Dec 1999 21:21:32 -0800


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Friday, December 10, 1999

Cops investigated for death of homeless man

 MONTREAL (CP) -- Quebec's provincial police force is investigating
whether a pair of Montreal officers were responsible for the death of a
homeless man.

The city force is already under fire for waiting almost two months to
report the death of Jean-Pierre Lizotte, who was taken to
hospital with a fractured spine after police were called to a bar where
Lizotte allegedly committed an indecent act Sept. 5.

Lizotte died Oct. 16; police reported his death on Wednesday.

A witness claims officers and a bar bouncer beat Lizotte mercilessly
and continued hitting him while he was already down.

"He tried to fight them off, but they kept punching him," said Jean-Maxime
Leroux, who was sitting at a nearby coffee shop.

"The bouncer held his hands while (the officers) hit him. Even after he
fell to the floor, they still kept punching him -- in the face, all over."

The officers will remain on duty at least until the provincial police
receives an autopsy report, which is expected next month.

"It doesn't take a genius to know this is police oppression," said Yves
Manseau of Citizens Against Police Brutality. "Not to let us know about
such an occurrence -- or waiting 52 days to tell us -- that's indecent."

Montreal police responded to the criticism by saying they informed the
provincial force immediately after Lizotte's death.

Lizotte, 45, had been in and out of jail for a variety of petty crimes,
but was remembered by fellow inmates as a talented man.

"He wrote poems, wrote songs for artists," said Jean-Paul Catellier, an
inmate at Bordeaux prison. "He was a great entertainer and everybody loved
him here -- even the guards."

His death has already drawn comparisons to what Montrealers call "l'affaire
Barnabe," the beating death of a local cab driver who was arrested for
breaking church windows six years ago.

After Richard Barnabe was taken to jail, officers beat him into a coma. He
died in 1996.

Seven officers faced disciplinary charges before the police ethics committee.
Two were discharged and two were suspended without pay for four months.

Copyright  1999, Canoe Limited Partnership.
All rights reserved.

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