Justice for Nicous Spring

Justice for Nicous Spring

Content Note: discussion of police brutality, murder, and anti-Black racism.

Nicous D’Andre Spring, 21, was unlawfully imprisoned at Montreal’s Bordeaux jail on December 24, 2022 when guards placed a spit hood over his head and pepper-sprayed him twice, resulting in his death. Nicous was detained by Montreal police on December 20th, and taken to the hospital on December 24th where he passed away, succumbing to the physical injuries inflicted by the prison guards. A judge had ordered Nicous be released from the detention center the day before.

Nicous was loved by his family, friends, and followers who knew him as the artist, YK Lyrical. He was a poet, loved to write and to workshop his writing with his mentors. He was only 21. He had hopes for the future, dreams and goals for his life beyond that night of December 24th, 2022, none of which included dying too young to see any of them come true. The experience which Nicous had at the end of his life was one of fear. Despite the criminal legal system’s efforts to rid him of humanity, Nicous was a young man who deserved to be protected, and who fought for his life to no avail.

Nicous did not have to be good, polite, put together, articulate, docile or kind to deserve his own life. He was not “one of the good ones” because he was a gifted writer who spent his life working closely with his community. Instead, he was precious merely because he was a young Black man, a human who deserved so much more care than he received. 

This is unfortunately not a new headline. For so many of us, this sounds all too familiar. It is a repetitive, ongoing, and deeply traumatic experience for the Black community, and for those who comprehend the emotional and political gravity of this event.

It’s normal to feel powerless when faced with tragedy that involves injustice. However, we do not have to face this alone. We can collectively hold space for one another, take much needed time to rest, and, when we can muster the strength, we can continue to claim the following statements as indisputable truths that guide and resource us as we organize for justice:

The prison, policing, and criminal legal system were specifically created to oppress and suppress Black, Indigenous, people of colour, and other marginalized lives. It is, in fact, working according to its purpose. The people responsible for this are those who uphold an institution designed to control, subdue, and murder anyone who is marked as a threat to the ongoing project of white supremacy and colonialism in this country. They are part of a system that allows its enforcers to operate without guilt or accountability for the lives they tear apart. This is true historically and it remains true today. In a system where justice and love prevail, the death of Nicous Springs would not have come to pass, because every person along his journey would have understood the beauty he encompassed, and viewed him much like they view their loved ones, as someone who is complicated, kind, nuanced and brave.

Nicous was taken from us in ways that resemble the deaths of people whose names we use to fuel our movements (e.g. George Floyd and countless others); people whose names have now morphed into hashtags, to represent the necessary fight for Black liberation and thus the liberation of us all. However, we aspire to keep in mind, and convey in our language that Nicous himself does not “represent” anything but his own life and desires. He was a young man with a life force that was brutally taken from him by the hands of a systemically racist, white supremacist, capitalist and patriarchal institution. He doesn’t represent the system nor the system’s failure to us as his community. The system in which we live, can represent itself. It has forced us to use the names of our loved ones as evidence of the violence inflicted upon us. If we must point to people who represent the criminal justice system of Montreal, we can look to the officers who illegally detained and killed Nicous D’Andre Springs. We did not want to have pages full of Black people who now rest in power. We did not do that to ourselves, nor did we want this for ourselves. This is a tragedy that has been imposed upon us.

Questions & statements for those in positions of power:

How many more must die before the government and the politicians which represent it stand up against their brutal murders? Who must once again lose their loved one before action is taken to ensure that Black lives are no longer senselessly lost due to state sanctioned violence? How much more money will be given to criminal justice before we accept that Black lives need more care, not more policing? 

No more bodies wronged on the soil of stolen territory. 

No more perpetual grief. 

No more brutal destruction of hope, and dreams.

The system may remain silent in response to protest but we will not… This is a call for justice.

For community: 

We must now look to community, to do what the system refuses. To value Nicous’ life more than the people who so violently took it away. To tend to one another and hold each other in love during these times of heartbreak. When you think of Nicous, think of your favorite song, or the most beautiful poem you have ever heard, and know that his life was all that and so much more. We will never forget Nicous. We can only adorn him with garlands of grace and tenderness in our imaginations, and attempt to offer him what every Black youth deserves: love and justice.

Join the march taking place this Friday February 10th @1pm in front of Roddick Gates, McGill (15A rue Sherbrooke W) to demand justice for Nicous. More info here

Please donate to the GoFundMe created to support his family. 


This statement was co-written by two Black staff members, Kathleen and Blain. Head&Hands stands behind this statement. 


For a list of mental health resources please go to this link: 

BIPOC Mental Health resource list

If you are under arrest or about to be interrogated by the police and urgently need a criminal lawyer, please contact the Barreau du Quebec’s “Emergency Lawyer” service at 514-954-3444. This service is available 24/7. 

For a list of legal resources please go to headandhands.ca/legal.