Parents of 2 dead Indigenous men among those calling for end to police violence
The families of an Indigenous man who was shot at by police and another whose death is at the centre of a police inquest joined a Saskatoon march against police violence on Saturday.
Wearing a shirt that reads “#Justice4Austin,” Agatha Eaglechief joined the march of about a dozen people who played drums, sang songs and carried signs past a heavily trafficked 22nd Street West, as they travelled from Pleasant Hill Park to the police station.
Agatha’s son Austin Eaglechief died in summer 2017 following a police chase in which shots were fired by officers. She said she still does not know what led to shots being fired that day, despite having seen helicopter video footage.
“Everyday I wake up hoping I can get an answer,” Agatha said.
While an autopsy clears gunshots as the cause of death, which included a high-speed crash with another vehicle, Agatha said in her view shots should have never been fired because her son had mental health and addiction issues.
‘I’m still fighting,’ says mother of Jordan Lafond
Among those speaking before the march began was Charmaine Dreaver, the mother of Jordan Lafond. Lafond died on in October 2016 after crashing into a fence during a police chase. His death is the subject of an upcoming June coroner’s inquest.
“I’m very upset about [how] the police act against so many people [that] have been hurt. It’s been very, very hard. I’m still fighting. I’ll never give up on the fight for Jordan,” Dreaver said to those who gathered.
“We need to be treated better and equally as humans.”
Police dog bite victim speaks
Sheila Tataquason was bitten by a police dog in 2013 and has been vocal about how it impacted her life.
The canine officer had been chasing an armed robbery suspect and latched onto Tataquason’s arm, although she was not involved, and has not received compensation from police despite facing nerve damage, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder since she was bit.
“I’m here to support all the people and not to be intimidated no longer by the Saskatoon city police,” she said.
Organizers say events like this, organized by the Saskatoon Coordinating Committee Against Police Violence, are a push toward greater transparency by police and also share information about citizens’ rights when it comes to police.
CBC News · Posted: Mar 31, 2018