When Regis Korchinski-Paquet's mother called 911 to de-escalate a confrontation between her two children, she couldn't have fathomed one of them would end up dead.

Now, she and the rest of Korchinski-Paquet's family want answers — and they're having an infuriatingly difficult time getting them. 

Korchinski-Paquet's cousin, a music artist who goes by Roc'a Veli and prefers not to be formally identified, spoke with Blavity about why he suspects foul play in his cousin's May 27 death. 

Roc'a Veli said his 29-year-old cousin lived with epilepsy — a neurological condition that he said affected her moods — and was suffering a mental health episode that night. According to a family statement about her death, when police arrived at the apartment building at 100 High Park, Korchinski-Paquet met them at an elevator outside her unit on the 24th floor. After the young woman, who was Black and Indigenous, said she had to use the restroom, several cops went into the apartment with Korchinski-Paquet alone. Her mom and brother stayed outside of the unit with the remaining officers. 

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"Within a minute and a half, you hear scuffling, a 'help mom, help mom' and then silence," Roc'a Veli said. 

Officers allege Korchinski-Paquet fell to her death from the balcony. Her family believes they pushed her. 

Roc'a Veli said the family has yet to learn the identities and badge numbers of the officers who were present that evening.

When Roc'a Veli came to the scene of what Toronto police have deemed a suicide, he saw his cousin's body on the ground. 

Not only did he say the distance between her body and the building didn't appear to align with that of a suicide, but he also said his cousin was a "fighter."

"If you know your family, you know your family," he said. "She was never suicidal. She doesn't suffer from psychosis or schizophrenia."

Roc'a Veli added that the police officers' narrative is one he's heard before. 

In 2012, Dale Antony Chatrie, a 21-year-old Black man, was said to have accidentally fallen from a balcony while police were in his Shuter Street apartment in Toronto. A witness said he fell while trying to scale the building, according to 680 News. An officer present at the time of the incident was found to be not liable for Chatrie's death.

Chatrie and Roc'a Veli were friends, and the artist has been suspicious of the police response since he found out the news.

"They lied and tried to say he scaled to next apartment building like he’s Jackie Chan. I’m like I know this guy. When I'd be speeding in the car, that man’s like holding on and is like 'noo,'" he said of his late friend. 

Fast forward to this past May, Roc'a Veli has devastatingly found himself encountering the same story about someone he cared for. 

The year prior to Chatrie's death, a similar incident occurred with 31-year-old Pardeep Singh Mann. Ontario police had been looking for Mann and said they saw him trying to scale balconies before he eventually fell to his death on a 9th-floor balcony. Police were later cleared of wrongdoing in this death as well. 

Three weeks before Korchinski-Paquet's death, Caleb Tubila Njoko, a 27-year-old Black man, fell from his apartment balcony in Ontario on May 5. His mother had also called police over concerns about his mental health, CBC News reported. According to his mother, Njoko barricaded himself inside the apartment away from police. He'd had a run-in with police just a week before, and his mother said police officers made him "nervous." Three days after falling from his 15th-floor balcony, he died. His mom also said she's having trouble getting answers from police.

In Edmonton, a 24-year-old man, whose identity has not been publicly revealed, died after either falling from or jumping off of a balcony on May 14. Police had forced themselves into his apartment according to the Edmonton Journal. But the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team, a police watchdog group in Alberta where Edmonton is located, said there was no indication police had been on the balcony with the man. 

Lawyer Tom Engel, who spoke with the Canadian publication, said the aforementioned incident was reminiscent of yet another balcony death which took place in Edmonton when police were nearby — this one from 1999. 

Fifteen-year-old Huu Pham and 21-year-old Adam Miller both died after a raid was conducted on an apartment they were inside of as part of a police operation focused on Asian gangs, according to CBC News. 

Findings from the public fatality inquiry into the deaths say police used an "outside diversionary device" when the two went outside and climbed over the balcony railing. The two fell and later died. Engel, who'd served as the Miller family's attorney, referred to their deaths as "collateral damage." He said the device, understood to have been a flash-bang grenade, could have caused their fall, as it may have "overwhelmed their senses." 

Despite the family's presentation of 12 ways in which police could avoid such a scenario in the future, the presiding judge declined to implement the recommendations, stating Pham and Miller went to the balcony on their own accord. 

The pattern of balcony deaths makes it apparent that Canadian police have done their part in earning mistrust from civilian communities. But of course, those deaths aren't solely responsible for fractured police-community relations.

The day George Floyd was killed, which would quickly spark a global movement against police brutality, Quebec police were seen dragging a Black man by his locs as they pulled him from his car before savagely assaulting him, as Blavity previously reported

As the Black Lives Matter movement continues to sweep the globe, Canada, too, is seeing demands for police accountability surge. 

"We never had police brutality in Canada brought to the scale that it is right now and it happens here all the time," Roc'a Veli said. 

During a searing speech on police brutality following Korchinski-Paquet's death, Canadian politician Jill Andrew said that between 2013 and 2017, Black Toronto residents were 20 times more likely to be fatally shot by police than their white counterparts. In that same address, Andrew also called for an independent investigation into Korchinski-Paquet's death. 

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Just weeks after Korchinski-Paquet's death and with increasingly cynical eyes on his department because of it, the chief of the Toronto Police Service announced he was retiring with more than nine months left in his recently extended contract. He didn't give the reasoning behind his decision, according to Vice. 

Meanwhile, Korchinski-Paquet's family is asking for an alternative unit to investigate their loved one's death after information about the case, which is being investigated by the province's Special Investigations Unit (SIU), was allegedly leaked to the Toronto Sun. As of a 2018 Globe and Mail article, just two of the SIU's 14 staff investigators previously worked in law enforcement. But the majority of their on-call investigators were retired police officers. 

While staff investigators work at the SIU headquarters in Mississauga, those who are on-call are placed throughout Ontario and operate when their services are needed in their respective regions, according to the SIU's website. Investigators are prohibited from handling cases in districts they previously worked within. 

It was the SIU that decided the officers involved in Chatrie's and Mann's cases would not be charged. They're still investigating Njoko's death. 

The Korchinski-Paquet family has retained a lawyer.

This story will be updated as new developments become available.