A 29-year-old Afro-Indigenous Toronto woman named Regis Korchinski-Paquet is dead after falling from the 24th floor of a High Park apartment building last night—her mother says the police pushed her. On a video released early yesterday evening, Claudette Clayton stood in front of her High Park Avenue apartment and spoke into the camera. “The police killed my daughter, came in my apartment and shoved her off the balcony,” Clayton said. She added that police “told [local news outlet] CP24 not to come here, that it’s a suicide. But the police killed her.”
At 11:20 p.m., six hours hours after the initial police response, Korchinski-Paquet’s body was still resting under an orange sheet near the southeast corner of the building, and patches of her blood remained on the grass. At this time several people in long coats transferred her remains into a quilted bag and placed them into an unmarked van.
Multiple Toronto Police officers stood near the building entrance and off to the side. Neighbours and family members had gathered in front of the building, while many others watched from their balconies inside.
Police say they responded to a call from the building around 5:15 p.m. Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit, which is tasked with police oversight, described the police’s version of events in its traditionally passive and vague language: “While officers were inside an apartment unit on the 24th floor, they observed a woman on the balcony. A short time later, the woman fell from the balcony to the ground below.”
In a statement released this morning, the SIU says it “is aware of certain allegations made by family members of the deceased and will be looking to speak with anyone with information about these allegations.” Anyone with information can call the SIU lead investigator at 1-800-787-8529.
The hashtag #JusticeForRegis has been trending on social media since last night.
A neighbour confirmed that she called CP24 and asked them to come to the scene. “The person on the phone said the police had called them, and told them not to come because it’s a suicide,” the neighbour said. According to several neighbours, the police officers who initially responded to the call left the scene after Korchinski-Paquet’s death.
A neighbour in front of the building played a video on her phone of Korchinski-Paquet riding a bicycle alongside a car, and laughing with the person filming her from inside the car as Notorious B.I.G. blasted in the background. “If you want to know what kind of person she was, this is who she was,” the neighbour said.
Clayton’s statement that police pushing her daughter off the balcony appeared in a video filmed by Korchinski-Paquet’s cousin, who also appeared in the video and said of the police, “they’re trying to sweep this shit under the rug.”
Korchinski-Paquet’s death follows a number of recent police killings of Black and Indigenous people across Canada, including three homicides in three days last month. On April 7 2020, an unnamed Peel Regional Police officer shot and killed 26-year-old D’Andre Campbell inside his own home, after Campbell himself called 911. On April 8 2020, an unnamed Winnipeg police officer shot and killed 16-year-old Eishia Hudson after pursuing her and her friends in a car. On April 9 2020, unnamed Winnipeg police officers shot and Killed 36-year-old Jason Collins in front of his home after being called there for a domestic dispute.