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politics

Protesters Still Blame Michael Bryant for Bike Courier’s Death

A group of about 40 gathered outside the ROM on Thursday to protest an appearance by the former politician.

A group gathers outside the ROM to protest the appearance of former Attorney General Michael Bryant.

A silent group gathered on Thursday night outside the ROM. They were there to mourn the loss of bike courier Darcy Allan Sheppard and to protest the former provincial politician, Michael Bryant, who was making a public appearance inside.

Sheppard was killed three years ago, in an incident involving Bryant, not far from the ROM, at Bloor Street and Avenue Road. The courier was riding his bike down Bloor Street when he got into an altercation with Bryant, who was driving a Saab convertible. Bryant’s wife was in the passenger seat. Things quickly escalated. Sheppard grabbed hold of the car, and Bryant sped away. In the ensuing chaos, Sheppard was killed.

Bryant was charged with criminal negligence causing death, and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death, but those charges were withdrawn by Vancouver Special Prosecutor Richard Peck, who explained he did not believe there was a reasonable prospect of conviction.

Bryant, a former St. Paul’s MPP and Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, who at one time served as Ontario’s attorney general, was appearing at the ROM to speak about policy options for Aboriginal self-governance and the Kelowna Accord, as part of a New Grit Network event.

One of the organizers of the demonstration, Benjamin Mueller-Heaslip, said the protestors were there to make sure Sheppard’s death was not brushed aside. Mueller-Heaslip was distributing flyers that said Bryant should not be in involved in setting public policy because of the incident. The flyers also questioned the efficacy of the Canadian legal system, saying that, in dismissing Bryant’s case, the courts had exposed an “inability to act independently.”

Photos by Geoffrey Mosher/Torontoist.

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