A large group of demonstrators marched through downtown Calgary Friday following the shooting death of a Black man last weekend.
“What I want is answers. I want to know why my father’s life meant so little,” said Nyalinglat Latjor, Latjor Tuel’s daughter on the steps of city hall. “Why was his body left there after the fact? Why was there not a different intervention?”
Tuel, 41, was shot and killed by police on Feb. 19 after investigators responded to a weapons complaint in the 4500 block of 17 avenue S.E.
The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team said Tuesday that Tuel was holding a stick and a knife, adding a witness reported he hit someone with the stick.
“We’ve heard from police that they received a (911) call and we want to hear the contents of that 911 call,” said Charles Odame-Ankrah with the Calgary African Community Collective.
“We want to change the narrative that police have put out. They’re focusing on the shooting,” Odame-Ankrah said. “What we’re complaining about is their action that led to the escalation, which led to him being shot.”
Family friends said Tuel was a child solider from Sudan and had been dealing with mental health issues.
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“He was never a violent person,” protest organizer David Top said. “He survived the civil war in Sudan and lived in a refugee camp so he had been through tough times for sure.”
“When they released that dog it triggered all those war traumas that had never been taken care of by the system here.”
On Tuesday, Calgary Police Service Chief Mark Neufeld held a news conference to correct what he called misinformation on social and traditional media.
Neufeld said officers’ less-lethal weapons — ARWEN baton rounds, a taser and a police service dog (PSD) — were used without success.
Neufeld said PSD Jack was stabbed in the neck and rushed to an emergency vet hospital. Police previously said the dog was in stable condition.
Community members said that people who knew Tuel offered to try to de-escalate the situation before the shooting took place.
“Individuals that were around offered their support to talk to him but police denied them that opportunity,” Top said. “The way he was approached, the way he was treated, it could have been different.”
“Somebody in a mental health crisis, at that point in time, wasn’t coherent enough to make the best decisions which led to his unfortunate passing,” Odame-Ankrah added.
Tuel’s daughter is now asking for an apology from the Calgary Police Service.
“We need accountability and we need answers and we need them now,” Latjor said. “I demand an apology… I demand answers and I demand them now.”
Global News reached out to police on Friday but were told because ASIRT is now investigating, no further comment would be provided.
— with files from Kaylen Small, Global News