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Cpl. Marcel Lemay - Murder - Kahnesatake - July 11, 1990


Quebec Provincial police officer Cpl. Marcel Lemay, 31, was killed near Oka, Quebec on Wednesday, July 11, 1990. He and 2 other officers were chasing a man fleeing from a Mohawk barricade at the Kahnesatake settlement. A bullet entered under his left arm killing him as he ran for cover behind trees.

The analysis of the scene suggests the bullet was fired from Zone 1, one of three positions set up by mohawk aboriginals.

The bullet used to kill Lemay was a .223-calibre slug with "full metal jacket" and a steel tip. None of the police officers were armed with such ammunition. The weapon used to fire the bullet has not been recovered.

Lemay was born in Acton Vale in the Eastern Townships. He joined the force in 1980 and served seven years in northwestern Quebec before moving to the tactical squad in Quebec City.

He left behind a wife, a 3-year-old daughter and a then unborn child.


LITTLE KNOWN FACTS ABOUT CORPORAL LEMAY’S DEATH IN OKA IN 1990MNN. Sept. 18, 2006. In 1991, almost a year after the Mohawk Oka Crisis of 1990, a reporter from the independent Montreal newspaper, the Mirror, met with some warriors at the Mohawk Nation Office in Kahnawake. The story that was uncovered was about the crisis and the death of Surete du Quebec officer, Corporal Marcel Lemay.
The story began before the July 11th 1990 attack on the people of Kanehsatake/Oka by the SQ. In early 1990 there had been a so-called “civil war” between the Warriors and anti’s in Akwesasne. The anti-warrior faction were supported by the US and Canadian governments. Two men were murdered during this conflict.

Internal Affairs of the SQ had launched an investigation into illegal sales of weapons to the anti’s without proper permits by certain gun store owners, in particular, a shop in Valleyfield, Quebec, west of Montreal. Weapons that had been used in shooting incidents throughout Mohawk community of Akwesasne, near Cornwall, had contributed to the deaths of these two men.

It appears that the SQ had given the Akwesasne Tribal Police a check to buy guns. They went to Valleyfield with leading figures of the anti-warrior movement. Instead of cashing it beforehand, they gave the store owner the SQ check to pay for the guns. Several days later the two men were shot and killed.

Internal Affairs uncovered information about the financing and supply of weapons to the anti-warrior factions in Akwesasne. The ultimate goal was to destroy as many of the warrior society members as they could.

The guns appeared to have come from SQ sources. The officer in charge of the internal investigation was none other than Corporal Marcel Lemay. He had gone to the gun store in Valleyfield and was shown the books, which indicated that an SQ check had paid for the guns. Lemay was ready to make his finding known.

One the morning of July 11th, 1990, three of the four SWAT units in the Montreal district were assigned to the Oka region. They were to launch an assault on the Mohawks in the Pines of Kanehsatake. To this day there is still a mystery as to who issued this order. Nobody knows or whoever does know isn’t saying.

Corporal Lemay had been assigned to investigate the conduct of police personnel and was not required to participate in such raids. He was working behind the desk. Yet on this day he had been ordered to suit up with a bullet proof vest, helmet and M-16. He was ordered to take part in launching a military style attack on some Mohawk men, women and children. Minutes after the assault on the Pines, Lemay lay dead on the field of battle.

A bullet had entered his left side just below his arm pit between the unprotected area of the vest and his body. Lemay never got beyond Mohawk lines and never had any warriors behind or beside him. The warriors had retreated back into the woods for better defensive positions. The SQ had attempted to attack from the front and from the side in order to catch warriors in a crossfire situation. This maneuver is referred to as a “flanking maneuver”.

Lemay was on the main front assault line. He was instantly killed at the beginning of the operation. The reporter questioned the SQ’s investigation into Lemay’s death. Normally when an officer is killed in the line of duty, someone must pay the price. The SQ treated the death as a civilian casualty.

Immediately following the attack Internal Affairs descended on the home of Lemay and seized all his investigative documents. Mrs. Lemay was suspicious of the SQ’s actions. She said on the media, “I don’t hold the Mohawks responsible for the death of my husband”.

The reporter concluded that the whole incident was a setup and a cover up. The assault on our people was the “final push” by the Quebec government along with Canada and the United States to choke the Mohawk people into submission. They wanted to criminalize us all. They were intent on destroying any type of economic independence that was functioning in our communities.

The reporter was discredited for his work and was reportedly threatened to “leave well enough alone”. Lemay’s discovery of SQ involvement in Akwesasne’s so-called “civil war” would have implicated the SQ top brass and brought down high government officials.

Kahentinetha Horn
MNN Mohawk Nation News

Slightly different.

Report finds Mohawk warrior responsible for policeman's death
Windspeaker Staff, Montreal
Page 2

The shooting death of a Quebec provincial police officer during the 1990 confrontation at Oka, Que. was deliberate, concluded coroner Guy Gilbert in a 500-page report released Aug. 17.

Gilbert ruled the AK-47 assault rifle that fired the shot which killed Cpl. Marcel Lemay, July 11, 1990 was held by a Mohawk Warrior whose intention was to kill. The round could in no way have come from the officer's own weapon or from another officer's gun, said Gilbert.

At least six warriors in the woods that day had weapons that could have fired the shot, but the coroner was unable to identify the shooter. He did write, however, the order to fire was given by Mitchell Deer as suggested by another Mohawak, Dennis Nicholas. Other Mohawk leaders identified in the report were Denis David, Francis Boots, John Denis Cree, Eba Beauvais, Kenneth Deer and Paul Delaronde.

The sniper was likely lying on his stomach and supporting the weapon with his elbows when the shot was fired. Lemay was standing still and pointing with his left hand. The bullet entered an area below the corporal's left armpit. The ammunition used was manufactured for military sharpshooters and couldn't have been sopped by Lemay's bullet-proof vest.

The coroner's inquest heard from 125 witnesses over a period of 138 days during 18 months. The resulting report was critical of both the Quebec and federal governments for their actions leading up to and during the 78-day stand-off.

Shooting began in response to an attempt by Quebec police to enter the woods to dismantle Mohawk barricades. Mohawks erected the barricades to prevent expansion of a golf course onto Native land.

By attacking the barricade, police became involved in a political battle between the band and the town where there were no lives being threatened and therefore no urgency to intervene, said Gilbert.

The report accused both governments of not taking the crisis seriously and did not develop communications with the Kanesatake band that would have prevented a confrontation with police.

The raid was conducted with no evaluation and analysis of the danger involved and under the assumption the Mohawk warriors would not shoot at police, despite warnings some had received military training in the U.S. armed forces.

When the order came from deputy directory Marc Lizotte at police headquarters in Montreal to enter the woods, there was confusion as to what was actually happening at Oka. The raid was improvised by officers at the scene and no senior officer was in a position to cancel the raid, read the report.

Ottawa has agreed to pay Quebec $50.7 million of the $108-million in expenditures the province was forced to make during the crisis. Costs incurred by the Surete du Quebec include $51.6-million in overtime payments of officers, $45,851 for ammunition and explosives, $72,768 for destroyed police vehicles and $325,550 for rental of cellular telephones.


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