Family, friends and community members gathered on Saturday to remember a Black woman who fell to her death from a balcony while police were in her Toronto apartment, starting what organizers said would be an annual tradition to call for police accountability.
The public memorial and “walk for justice” for Regis Korchinski-Paquet come nearly two months after her death, which sparked anti-racist protests and a broader conversation about how police respond to mental health calls.
'Regis's legacy lives on:' Walk and Public memorial for Regis …
“She was my whole life. Not one day goes by where I don’t think about her,” said her father Peter Korchinski. “And like I said before, we’re never going to stop fighting for you. I will die fighting.”
Police have said they were called to the apartment on May 27 for a possible assault, but Korchinski-Paquet’s mother has said she wanted officers to take her daughter to a mental health facility in Toronto.
The province’s police watchdog is investigating the circumstances surrounding the death, and have said a report could come as early as August.
After the initial remarks, Saturday’s crowd made its way to the first annual “Regis Korchinski-Paquet Walk For Justice” and walked down to High Park, where they gathered once more.
NDP MPP Jill Andrew, who also attended the event, says the SIU should be reformed and money from the Toronto Police Service’s budget should be reallocated to community services.
She also spoke directly to Korchinski-Paquet’s parents.
“You called for help and you didn’t get it,” she said. “We will continue to fight hard to ensure that Regis’s legacy lives on”
Ravyn Wngz, an activist with Black Lives Matter Toronto, said the community is in “mourning, grief and rage.” She Korchinski-Paquet would still be here if she had gotten the support she needed.
“Regis’s family called for a wellness check for her to be taken care of,” Wngz said. “Now we are mourning her loss.”
She said justice has not been done.
“Justice is having answers, justice looks life defunding the police, justice looks like whatever the family is asking for,” she said.
Silvia Argentina Arauz, the director of support services for Ma’at Legal, which has been representing Korchinski-Paquet’s family, said the event is aimed at fighting anti-Black racism, and it was meaningful to have politicians come together with activists.
“This annual walk will be happening every year to commemorate what is a huge loss for the community,” Arauz said.