ASIRT Investigates Fatal Officer-Involved Shooting of Indigenous Man in Gleichen

Cavin Poucette. (Facebook)

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team is looking into a fatal shooting of an Indigenous man in which RCMP were involved in the community of Gleichen.

At about 4 a.m. Thursday, two officers pulled over a driver and his girlfriend in the community near Haskayne Avenue and Gleichan Street.

RCMP said while conducting the traffic stop, officers observed a firearm in the vehicle.

While trying to arrest 26-year-old Cavin Poucette, a confrontation took place that led to an officer firing his weapon.

Bullet holes can be seen in the windshield of a vehicle that is at the centre of a police investigation in Gleichen.

Poucette was pronounced dead at the scene.

No further details on what this confrontation entailed was provided by RCMP.

According to CTV News, family members identified Poucette as the victim of Thursday morning’s fatal shooting.

Poucette was a “proud Cree” originally from Morley on the Stoney Nakoda First Nation, friends told Postmedia.

Poucette’s social media accounts have been flooded with tributes and messages of condolence.

Gleichen is 90 kilometres southeast of Calgary.

Poucette’s death occurred just hours before RCMP near Bashaw AB., approached a man inside a stolen car parked in a rural area. The suspect entered into a confrontation with officers, resulting in them firing their weapons.

He was airlifted to hospital in critical condition and later died.

No other details were released about the victim.

That shooting is also under ASIRT investigation.

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First Nations Leaders Mourn Passing of Tragically Hip Frontman Gord Downie

Tragically Hip – Man Machine Poem tour, July 2016.

Gord Downie remembered for raising awareness of Indigenous issues

Canadian singer Gord Downie, 53, has passed away from terminal brain cancer.

Downie, lead singer of The Tragically Hip, was diagnosed with cancer in December 2015.

“Last night Gord quietly passed away with his beloved children and family close by,” said a statement posted on thehip.com.

Downie united a diverse array of music lovers with his commanding stage presence and Canadiana-laced lyrics.

Downie was also an advocate for First Nations people.

On Wednesday, Indigenous leaders praised Downie’s contribution to reconciliation as they mourned the musician’s death.

According to CBC News Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler released a statement in the wake of the announcement of Downie’s death.

“Words cannot express our sorrow and our thoughts and prayers are with Gord’s brothers Mike and Patrick, and all of their family and friends,” Fiddler was quoted as saying in a written release. “My dear friend took the country by storm last year with his heartfelt call to action, and exposed dark truths about this country like no one before him.”

In December 2016, Downie was honoured at an Assembly of First Nations gathering for his work highlighting the impact of residential schools.

National Chief Perry Bellegarde presented Downie with an eagle feather and he was given a Lakota spirit name, Wicapi Omani, which can be roughly translated as “Man who walks among the stars.”

Gord Downie is presented with a blanket during an honouring ceremony at the Assembly of First Nations Special Chiefs Assembly in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada. Dec 6, 2016.

Downie’s concept album, Secret Path, tells the story of 12-year-old Chanie Wenjack, who died in 1966, while trying to escape from a residential school near Kenora, Ont.

The album, accompanied by a graphic novel and film, shone a spotlight on a topic that Downie believed had been ignored for too long.

First Nations leaders and artists alike expressed gratitude to Downie for the recognition of the legacy of residential schools and his call for all Canadians to learn the stories of the thousands of children who died there.

“I am honoured and humbled to support the Secret Path project,” Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) Grand Chief Sheila North Wilson said.

“When you have someone with that fortitude and passion to speak out on our behalf it’s this overwhelming feeling of gratefulness because he can touch different audiences that we can’t,” Tanya Tagaq told VICE

Isadore Day, the Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief of Ontario, echoed this sentiment.

“I felt very grateful that someone of his stature would take to the cause and really lift up our people through his music and his stellar reputation.”

“I honour the life and work of Gord Downie, a dedicated and accomplished artist who used his profile to advance reconciliation and build support for First Nations peoples,” Bellegarde said Wednesday in a statement.

In June, for his work raising awareness of Indigenous issues, Downie received the Order of Canada (Canada’s highest honour for a civilian), he was appointed to the Order.

Downie’s death is an “incredible loss to Canada”, Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett said as she thanked him for the role he played in reconciliation.

Governor General David Johnston pins the order of Canada on Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also released a statement about Downie’s passing.

“Gord did not rest from working for the issues he cared about, and his commitment and passion will continue to motivate Canadians for years to come.”

“On behalf of all Canadians, Sophie and I offer our deepest condolences to Gord’s family, friends, bandmates and crew members, and his many, many fans. He will be sorely missed.”

Gord Downie’s Secret Path in Concert will make its broadcast premiere on Sunday, October 22 at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT) on CBC TV and streaming at cbc.ca/arts/secretpath, commemorating the 51st anniversary of Chanie Wenjack’s death.

By: Black Powder, RPM Staff

Winnipeg Police Officer Charged After Pedestrian Dies in Hit-and-Run

Const. Justin Holz, charged after hit-and-run killed Cody Severight 

Winnipeg’s police chief says off-duty officers have the same right as anyone else to socialize after work, sometimes with alcohol.

But Chief Danny Smyth says like anyone else, if an officer has too much to drink and gets behind the wheel of a car, he or she has crossed a line.

Smyth faced questions at a news conference Friday about whether there is a culture among police officers of going for an after-drink work.

One off-duty officer was charged this week with impaired driving causing death and failing to stop at the scene of an accident after a fatal hit-and-run that killed pedestrian Cody Severight, 23.

Smyth said the investigation being carried out by Manitoba’s Independent Investigations Unit could result in further charges against Const. Justin Holz, 34, and also said there will be an internal review that won’t be made public.

Severight’s aunt, Nancy Gabriel, has expressed concern that the person responsible for her nephew’s death “doesn’t get away with it,” adding her family just wants justice.

Smyth noted he does not have to wait for the criminal case to be resolved.

“If I consider their conduct to be so egregious that they can’t continue as a police member, my recommendation would be to dismiss,” Smyth said.

Robert Taman helped establish the IIU while serving on the Manitoba Police Commission after his wife was killed in a collision with an off-duty officer who had been at a party a short time before. He said he knows the heartbreak of the Severight family all too well.

“I would hope that the IIU will investigate it fully and they’ll be transparent,” Taman told CTV Winnipeg. “And that the family will be satisfied in the end with the investigation.”

Taman has long called for tougher penalties for drunk drivers and spoken out against the behaviour of police who drink and then get in their vehicles.

However, Smyth said he sees impaired driving as more of “a problem in our society in general.”

“We see people that get killed in car accidents and with impaired driving. Our officers are part of the community too; we’re not immune from those problems.”

Smyth said when it comes to dealing internally with problem drinking among officers, discipline wouldn’t be his first approach.

“Like anything in our society, when we become aware that somebody might be struggling with a problem, my first instinct is to try to help them,” he said, adding that officers have access to resources for help.

“If they get involved in conduct that involves criminal conduct, that really limits what I can do.”

The allegations against Holz have not been proven in court. He was released on a promise to appear, and will make his first court appearance on Nov. 22.

He was also placed on administrative leave with pay.

(CTV Winnipeg)

[SOURCE]

Winnipeg Cop Arrested in Fatal Hit-and-Run Believed to Have Been Impaired

A stretch of northbound Main Street is blocked on Wednesday morning as police investigate Tuesday night’s fatal pedestrian crash. (Meaghan Ketcheson/CBC)

Family of Cody Severight holding vigil at Main and Sutherland on Wednesday afternoon

An off-duty Winnipeg police officer who was arrested after 23-year-old Cody Severight was hit and killed by a vehicle on Tuesday was allegedly impaired.

The officer drove away from the scene and was later located more than seven kilometres away, says a news release from the Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba.

“The officer was arrested on allegations of impaired driving causing death and failure to stop and remain at the scene of an accident,” the news release says.

He has been released from custody on a promise to appear in court on Nov. 22.

The crash happened around 8 p.m. Tuesday near the corner of Main Street and Sutherland Avenue but the Winnipeg Police Service has said little about it, other than that an officer was arrested.

A police news conference to provide more details is set for 2 p.m. Wednesday.

The crash happened around 8 p.m. Tuesday near the corner of Main Street and Sutherland Avenue but the Winnipeg Police Service has said little about it, other than that an officer was arrested.

A police news conference to provide more details is set for 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Cody Severight, 23, died Tuesday night after he was hit by a car. (Cody Severight/Facebook)

The IIU, which looks into all serious incidents involving police officers in Manitoba, whether occurring on or off duty, is leading the investigation of the case.

“Since this is an ongoing matter, no further details about the incident or the investigation is being provided,” the release says.

The northbound lanes of Main Street remain blocked from Higgins Avenue to Jarvis Avenue with the focus of the investigation close to the Sutherland Hotel, which is surrounded by yellow police tape.

The officer was arrested at Main Street and Red River Boulevard, not far from the city’s northern limit.

Family holds vigil

Severight family is gathering for a vigil at the intersection where he died to light candles, grieve and wait for more answers about what happened.

The vigil is planned for 1 p.m. close to where investigators are still going over the scene.

“We just want to be together for each other at that place,” said Severight’s grandmother Gloria Lebold, who described the 23-year-old as someone who made everyone laugh.

“He was a sweet little guy, always joking around, just being a little fun person.”

Police evidence tags line the northbound lanes of Main Street. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

A shoe lies on Main Street, surrounded by evidence tags, at the scene of a fatal pedestrian crash. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

Severight had just rented his first apartment on nearby Annabella Street and recently started classes at the Winnipeg Adult Education Centre to obtain his Grade 12.

He and his girlfriend were expecting a baby soon.

“He was excited about all of that,” said Cindy Head, Severight’s aunt.

Now, his family is waiting for his body to be released so they can plan a funeral and then bury the young man beside his mom on Waywayseecappo First Nation, about 280 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg.

“My kids are taking it hard right now. They can’t believe it really was him,” Head said as her voice trailed into a weep.

“It’s hard for me, too. I’m trying to get through this.”

The IIU is asking witnesses and anyone else with information or video footage to contact the agency toll-free at 1-844-667-6060.

By Darren Bernhardt, CBC News

[SOURCE]

Justin Trudeau Berated at Hill Gathering over Missing, Murdered Women Inquiry

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stood quietly with his head down Wednesday as families expressed extreme anger toward him about the inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

Trudeau must reset the inquiry led by four commissioners, Maggie Cywink from Whitefish River First Nation said in a speech to an annual gathering on Parliament Hill.

“If you want to be remembered as a prime minister who is healing ties with First Nations, then you must start with our women and families,” said Cywink, whose sister, Sonya Cywink, was found slain near London, Ont. in 1994.

“Will you be seen as yet another politician, in the very long list of politicians, who simply peddled in the age-old craft of empty promises?

The government’s version of reconciliation looks a lot like colonization, said Connie Greyeyes from Fort Saint John, B.C.

“How do you come out here and say that you support families?” she said.

“How dare you come out here and say these things?”

Before Trudeau began to address the audience, someone in the crowd urged that he “go home.”

He went on to thank family members for sharing their frustration and for challenging him to do better.

“The missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls inquiry is something that I have long believed in, long supported,” he said. “It was never going to be easy.”

His wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, told family members she can’t imagine what it is like to lose a loved one for “senseless reasons.”

“I stand here before you as a woman, as a mother, as a fellow Canadian, as a human being,” she said. “We are suffering with you.”

One of the inquiry’s commissioners, Michele Audette, attended the Hill event.

The Canadian Press, October 5, 2017

[SOURCE]

 

Trudeau Calls Stabbing, Van Assault in Edmonton a ‘Terrorist Attack’

A U-Haul truck rests on its side after a high-speed chase with police in Edmonton. (CP)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is condemning violent events in Edmonton as a “terrorist attack” following a chaotic night that saw a police officer stabbed and several pedestrians run down with a cube van.

Edmonton police said they have a 30-year-old man in custody and they think he acted alone. But police chief Rod Knecht stressed Sunday morning that the investigation is in its early stages and authorities haven’t ruled out others might have been involved.

The police officer was taken to hospital and treated for non life-threatening injuries. Four people were injured by the van, but the extent of their injuries was not immediately known.

Trudeau said Sunday that he was deeply concerned and outraged at what he called a “terrorist attack.”

“Our thoughts are with those injured, their family and friends, and all those affected by this senseless act of violence,” Trudeau said in a statement, in which he also thanked first responders and law enforcement.

“While the investigation continues, early reports indicate that this is another example of the hate that we must remain ever vigilant against.

“We cannot — and will not — let violent extremism take root in our communities. We know that Canada’s strength comes from our diversity, and we will not be cowed by those who seek to divide us or promote fear.”

It all began Saturday night outside the Edmonton Eskimos CFL football game at Commonwealth Stadium where it was military appreciation night.

Canada’s chief of defence staff, Gen. Jonathan Vance, conducted the pregame coin flip and two CF-18 fighter jets did a fly-past before kickoff. More than 800 Boy Scouts were expected at the game and many were planning to camp out on the field afterward.

While the Eskimos were battling the Winnipeg Blue Bombers inside the stadium, outside a white Chevy Malibu approached a traffic control post at a high speed.

Edmonton police released grainy footage of a car ramming a crowd control barricade with a uniformed officer standing beside it. The footage shows the officer being tossed about five metres into the air as the car slams into the front of a parked police cruiser.

The video shows two people walking by with their dogs rushing towards the officer on the ground but they run off when the driver gets out of the car, runs over and appears to starts stabbing the officer.

The police officer appears to wrestle with the driver on the ground and, at one point, it appears the officer is on top of the driver. Footage shows them both getting to their feet and the driver runs across the street while the officer slowly follows behind him into traffic.

Police launched a manhunt for the suspect.

Knecht said an Islamic State flag was found in the front seat of the car and was seized as evidence.

A few hours later, while fans filed out of the game and were re-routed around the crime scene, a U-Haul cube van was stopped at a checkstop north of downtown.

When the driver was asked for his licence, Knecht said the name on the identification was close to that of the registered owner of white Malibu.

When confronted, Knecht said the U-Haul sped off toward downtown with police cars in pursuit.

The van intentionally swerved at pedestrians in crosswalks, Knecht said.

“It is believed at this time that these two incidents are related,” Knecht said. “These incidents are being investigated as acts of terrorism.”

The name of the suspect was not released. Knecht said he was known to police, but there was no warning for the attack.

In a tweet Sunday, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said “Canada will not be intimidated by terrorist violence.”

Goodale’s office issued a statement to say the RCMP’s Integrated National Security Enforcement Team was working closely with Edmonton police.

“At this time, the national terrorism threat level for Canada remains at ‘medium’ where it has stood since the fall of 2014,” his spokesman Scott Bardsley wrote, adding Canadians should report any suspicious activity.

Another police press conference is scheduled for 3 p.m. Edmonton time.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley tweeted her well-wishes to the injured officer.

“Our thoughts are with @edmontonpolice member injured on duty tonight & hoping for a speedy recovery,” she wrote. “Grateful for our first responders.”

Federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer also reacted on Twitter.

“Saddened and outraged by the terror attack in Edmonton. My first thoughts are with the injured, praying they all make full recoveries.”

Austin Elgie, manager of The Pint bar just west of the downtown core, saw the van zoom by with police giving chase.

The van “peeled” into an alley where people were smoking, he said.

“There were like 10 cop cars following him … It was crazy. It just came around the corner, ripping. I thought at first he was pulling over for the cops coming by, but he was clearly the one they were chasing.”

Elgie said the van hit a man who was a bar customer.

“I have a registered nurse on my bar team and I grabbed her and had her look after the guy until the ambulance came.

“He was breathing and we got him in the ambulance and he was still breathing.”

The chase came to an end outside the Matrix Hotel, only a few blocks from the bar, when the van rolled on its side.

Natalie Pon tweeted that she was at a wedding at the hotel when the crash happened.

“They’re keeping us away from windrows/the lobby,” she said.

Pon posted pictures of the U-Haul on its side with a large hole in the windshield.

Witnesses told local media they saw the suspect being pulled from the vehicle through the broken windshield and then placed in handcuffs.

— with files from Andy Blatchford in Ottawa

The Canadian Press

[SOURCE]

No Charges Against Former Canadian Tire Employee After Assault Allegation by Indigenous Elder

Kamao Cappo at Regina Canadian Tire store

Regina police say no criminal charges will be laid after an Indigenous elder was physically removed from a Canadian Tire store earlier this summer.

Kamao Cappo, 53, of the Muscowpetung First Nation posted a video — that has been viewed more than 1 million times — to social media in July that showed an employee trying to physically removed him from a Regina Canadian Tire store.

Cappo was shopping for a chainsaw when the employee wrongly accused him of stealing, then forced him out of the store.

Cappo reported to police that he’d been assaulted and that he was targeted because he is Indigenous.

The employee lost his job over the incident.

RELATED:

No charges will be laid

CJME News reports, on Thursday, police announced they’d concluded their investigation and weren’t laying any charges.

Police said the investigation became more complicated due to the claims the employee accused Cappo because he is Indigenous.

“This is a highly sensitive case, we saw that, there was a lot of political communication around there, there was a lot of social media activity about this,” said police Chief Evan Bray.

It was those reasons that police chose to have crown prosecutors look at the case.

No video from store

Police conducted witness interviews, but there was no surveillance video.

Bray said when they handed over their evidence, there was no video from inside the store.

“We did take video from Mr. Cappo, he had video on his personal device that he took, any piece of that we could gather we would but we can’t make up something that’s not there,” Bray said. “When we went to gather it, there was nothing there.”

Cappo was informed of the outcome Thursday.

He says he’s stunned and saddened by the decision.

“It’s a really sad message for our people and our children,” Cappo said.

“Indigenous people experience this on a regular basis and they do not report it … they just accept it. I wanted to show them they could succeed, so this is devastating.”

Cappo says he has yet to receive an official apology from Canadian Tire officials.

By: Black Powder

Sask. Indigenous Girls 26 Times More Likely To Die By Suicide: Report

There have been more than 500 First Nations suicides in Saskatchewan since 2005.

Grim numbers from the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations are showing First Nations youth face a significantly higher risk of suicide than their non-Indigenous counterparts in Saskatchewan.

A discussion paper released by the FSIN on Friday used coroner office statistics to show there have been over 500 First Nations suicides in the province since 2005, a rate four times higher than in non-First Nation populations.

Over half of the suicides involved people under the age of 30.

Dr. Kim McKay-McNabb, a First Nations therapist, calls it “a mental health crisis.”

McKay-McNabb is one of two technical advisors assisting with the development of the FSIN’s Saskatchewan First Nations suicide prevention strategy, which will be released on May 18, 2018.

The release of her research comes almost one year after multiple suicides rocked the province’s northern communities.

She said there aren’t enough treatment centres for First Nations residents across the province.

“You can be on the reserve and want to access treatment options. As a First Nations person you are limited on where you can go for treatment,” she said.

The numbers released Friday also indicated First Nations girls aged 10 to 19 faced a suicide rate 26 times higher than non-First Nations girls in Saskatchewan.

Children waiting too long for mental health treatment

McKay-McNabb said children are waiting too long for mental supports.

“Someone on the reserve gets a referral for an ed-psych to find out if they have a learning difficulty. That child can wait up to two to four years before they actually get to see that psychologist,” she said.

FSIN vice-chief Heather Bear said the discussion paper highlighted the importance of the suicide prevention strategy.

She added it would be important for First Nations voices to lead the effort to find a solution for their communities.

“We can’t go wrong when we get our people involved and they know what their issues are, they know what their problems are,” she said.

“They do have the solutions on how to fix them.”

 HuffPost Canada

[SOURCE]

Judge sentences Leslie Black to 16 years after Brutal Attack on Marlene Bird

Marlene Bird lost both legs and an eye in the assault. (CBC)

Black sentenced to 16 years after brutal assault left Prince Albert woman a double amputee

Judge Stanley Loewen sentenced Leslie Black to 16 years less remand on Friday in Prince Albert, Sask..

He’ll be sent to a prison outside of Saskatchewan because of the high-profile nature of the case.

Black pleaded guilty to attempted murder after he violently beat Marlene Bird and set her on fire in 2014. She lost both legs and an eye in the assault.

Leslie Black pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of Marlene Bird.

The Crown asked for a 20-year sentence. Meanwhile the defence asked for 15 years, acknowledging the crime was “brutal.”

The Crown had originally applied to have Black designated a dangerous offender, but a judge ruled that Black did not meet the criteria.

During the sentencing Black read an apology to Marlene Bird stating he is “truly sorry” and “cannot forgive (him)self.”

Black has spent more than 1,180 days in custody, which will count toward his sentence.

CBC News 

[SOURCE]

 

Lynn Beyak kicked out of all Senate committees after First Nations remarks

Controversial Conservative Sen. Lynn Beyak has been removed from all Senate committees following remarks about First Nations which have been widely condemned.

Beyak remains a member of the Conservative caucus, but has lost her spots on the Senate’s agriculture, defence and transportation committees.

Sen. Larry Smith, the leader of the Conservatives in the Senate, says in a statement today the decision is an internal party matter and Beyak has been given guidelines going forward.

He did not elaborate on those guidelines and says he considers the matter closed.

Beyak issued a letter earlier this month calling for First Nations people to give up their status cards in exchange for a one-time cash payment and said they could then practice their culture “on their own dime.”

She was removed from the Senate aboriginal affairs committee by former party leader Rona Ambrose in the spring after she said more good than bad happened at residential schools and that people were focusing too much on the abuse rather than the positive impact the schools had.

The Canadian Press

[SOURCE]