The family of Eishia Hudson gathered on Easter Sunday to honour the 16-year-old who was shot and killed during an arrest four days earlier by Winnipeg police.
A makeshift memorial of flowers and photos now sits at the same intersection as the fatal shooting that followed a police pursuit on April 8.
Hudson’s mother Christie Zebrasky spoke fondly of her daughter during the vigil.
“Eishia was very outgoing, loving and caring. [She] put everybody above her…she was a strong independent girl,” said Zebrasky.
Dozens of family members, friends and allies paid their respects Sunday evening while still following physical distancing rules included in online posts about the vigil. Many chose to stay in their cars and watch from the side of the road.
The Manitoba government has issued a public health order to limit social gatherings to 10 people or less to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus and said people must stand two metres apart.
At one point people pointed to the sky and marvelled as an eagle flew over the group.
Later on the group shut down the intersection with a round dance.
William Hudson welcomed the support while he tried to come to terms with his daughter’s death.
“I’m going to do it day by day and do the best we can to get justice for our daughter,” he said.
Police say Hudson was part of a group of teens who allegedly stole a vehicle and robbed a liquor store in the south end of the city last week. They say the teen was driving the vehicle when it crashed into “a number of cars.” Police say while officers attempted to arrest the five youth in the car, Hudson was shot.
The Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba is investigating the shooting.
Zebrasky believes the Winnipeg Police Service should be held responsible for her daughter’s death.
“She was loved. She impacted a lot of people, and I want it to be known Winnipeg Police did wrong to my daughter,” Zebrasky said.
Throughout the vigil many took to social media to express concerns about police limiting access to the event including Winnipeg Centre NDP-MP Leah Gazan who tweeted, “Tried to attend the vigil for Eishia Hudson however the police had the area blocked off.”
Tried to attend the Vigil for Eishia Hudson however the police had the area blocked off. This is the second shooting of a young person because of a police altercation. We need a better path forward that supports children, youth, families, and community. Eishia’s Life mattered.
— Leah ProudLakota (@LeahGazan) April 12, 2020
Police said they only blocked vehicles from driving through the area to ensure the safety of pedestrians.
“Officers blocked vehicular traffic from the area to ensure those in attendance could remain safe while on a major roadway with a posted speed of 80 kph. We take this step any time pedestrians occupy a roadway,” Cst. Rob Carver said in an email.
“We are not aware of anyone that was prevented from attending. In fact, we had a number of officers in the area to ensure anyone that chose to attend could be on the roadway and be safe from vehicles.”
In light of the pandemic, the family is hosting two small memorial services this week. They have asked family and friends to abide by the public health order.