Group calls for renewed funding to fight gangs after Regina man's death
Published Tuesday, September 10, 2013 4:42PM CST
The North Central Community Association says the tragic death of a Regina man who was killed for wearing a red shirt underscores the need for renewed funding to combat gangs.
Derrick Amyotte, a 31-year-old father of three, died after he was stabbed multiple times in the city’s North Central neighbourhood in July 2012.
Amyotte was out walking when he was confronted by then 16-year-old Brendon Keewatin, who told him he shouldn’t be wearing red in his neighbourhood. Keewatin, who was a member of the Native Syndicate gang, was handed a seven-year adult sentence for manslaughter Monday.
Rob Deglau, the executive director of the North Central Community Association, says the gang problem has gotten worse in the neighbourhood in recent years.
“The reality is we have a whole bunch of lost youth that have nowhere to go, and gangs seem to be filling that void,” Deglau said.
“If we don’t step up to the plate and fill that void with something else, then there’s no alternative.”
He said the association used to run the Regina Anti-Gang Services (RAGS) program, which was one of the largest gang exit strategies in North America.
However, federal funding for the initiative ended in 2011, and a request for provincial funding for a revised version of RAGS was denied in February.
“Any youth that was targeted for gangs could come to us, to our RAGS program, and we would wrap around them and help them and ensure that they wouldn’t be into gangs,” Deglau said. “That program no longer exists.”
He said the association hopes to discuss the issue with the city, the province and the federal government.
As for the issue of wearing certain colours in North Central, Deglau says he frequently wears red shirts and hasn’t run into any trouble. Tragically, he said, Amyotte may have just been in the wrong place at the wrong time.