Tag Archives: Police Brutality

Police Services Act must be improved to protect First Nations people, says AMC chief

Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) Grand Chief Arlen Dumas PHOTO BY JOSH ALDRICH /Winnipeg Sun

The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) Grand Chief Arlen Dumas would like to see changes in the Police Services Act (PSA) following the recent death of a First Nations man charged with assaulting a police officer.

Brian Halcrow from Tataskweyak Cree Nation was arrested by Thompson RCMP for throwing a hat at Const. Jeremiah Dumont-Fontaine in June 2019. Following the incident, Halcrow committed suicide after he was charged with three counts of assaulting an officer and causing a disturbance.

New video surveillance, obtained by the Independent Investigations Unit (IIU), shows the hat flew past Dumont-Fontaine and hit the ground. This indicates that the assault may not have occurred.

“This is yet another disturbing and tragic report of a First Nation citizen being brutally mistreated by officers, which may be a direct contributing factor in his decision to take his own life,” said Dumas in a press release.

In November last year, an independent review of the PSA came up with 70 recommendations to improve policing and police oversight in Manitoba.Among the recommendations were changes to the sections of the legislation that govern the IIU.

Among the recommendations were changes to the sections of the legislation that govern the IIU.

In this case, Dumont-Fontaine is protected by the provisions of the PSA that do not compel the subject officer to hand over notes about an incident to the IIU investigating officers or to be interviewed about the matter.

Due to this, IIU has decided to take law enforcement to court to gain access to Dumont-Fontaine’s report. Arguments over the disclosure of the occurrence report on the Halcrow incident will be heard in Manitoba’s Court of Queen’s Bench on March 5.

“Unless this is changed in legislation, the IIU will continue to play a part in the disproportionate rates of First Nations arrests and incarcerations, and subject officers will continue to be found not responsible for acts of brutality and/or justified in the use of deadly force,” said Dumas.

Dumas urge the Province of Manitoba to implement the recommendations of the final report on the PSA to prevent and reduce similar tragic events from occurring in the future.

As well, changes to the PSA could bring closure and better administration of justice for many First Nation citizens such as Halcrow.

“It is disturbing and emotionally exhausting for First Nations in Manitoba to be continually exposed to reports and alleged incidents of the use of excessive force perpetrated on First Nations by police officers, conservation officers, and correctional officers in this province,” said Dumas.

“The PSA legislation is a contributing factor, and I continue to urge the Province and specifically Manitoba Justice to implement its recommendations, in partnership with First Nations in the spirit and intent of reconciliation and for a measure of justice for those First Nations lives lost as a result of police misconduct.”

Justice Minister Cameron Friesen said that the province has committed to introducing legislation this year that will strengthen the Manitoba IIU.

“We are sincerely interested in facilitating changes to the IIU that are designed to increase transparency and confidence and better reflect the communities it serves. These efforts are well underway and we are committed to that path,” he said on Wednesday.

By Nicole Wong • Winnipeg Sun Posted: Mar 03, 2021.


U.S. Must Return ALL Stolen Land To Native Tribes In Order To End Police Brutality And Racism


By Counter Current News

The United Nations has made a statement that is shocking to many, but comes as no surprise to those who know their history. An investigator probing discrimination against Native Americans has said that the United States government has an obligation to return much of the land stolen from Native American tribes, if they want to combat systemic racism and discrimination in the United States.

As of 2011, there were 5.1 million American Indians and Alaska Natives in the U.S. but the rate of Native Americans being killed by law enforcement far outpaces the rates of any other group, with African Americans coming in second.

From 1999 to 2013, Native Americans have been killed by police at nearly identical rates as black Americans, but at a slightly higher rate in recent years. The big difference with Native lives, however, is that the media is virtually silent on these killings and the “Native Lives Matter” movement.

Simon Moya-Smith, a journalist and editor with Indian Country Today Media Network, said, “we protest, we take to social media, we get as many stories and Native American voices as we can into news media,” but still, “we’re not entirely on [the mainstream media’s] radar – maybe for Indian mascots, but for police brutality? Barely, if at all.”

Now, James Anaya, the UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, has concluded that there is no way justice will ever be possible in the United States, as long as the government continues to hold illegally-seized Native American land.

Anaya said that no member of the US Congress has been willing to meet him during the course of his investigated into these stolen lands and the impact the land theft has on Native American communities today.

Anaya said that he spent nearly two weeks of visiting Indian reservations, communities and Natives living in cities. At the end of the investigation, he concluded that in all contexts, police brutality and systemic racism has been pervasive. He reported “numerous instances of outright brutality, all grounded on racial discrimination”.

“It’s a racial discrimination that they feel is both systemic and also specific instances of ongoing discrimination that is felt at the individual level,” he added.

Anaya said this does not just extend to how law enforcement treats Native Americans, but is also part of the broad relationship between federal or state governments and tribes which effects issues including law enforcement, education and poverty.

“For example, with the treatment of children in schools both by their peers and by teachers as well as the educational system itself; the way native Americans and indigenous peoples are reflected in the school curriculum and teaching,” he continued.

“And discrimination in the sense of the invisibility of Native Americans in the country overall that often is reflected in the popular media. The idea that is often projected through the mainstream media and among public figures that indigenous peoples are either gone or as a group are insignificant or that they’re out to get benefits in terms of handouts, or their communities and cultures are reduced to casinos, which are just flatly wrong.”

Anaya visited an Oglala Sioux reservation. There, he found that the per capita income is only around $7,000 a year, and life expectancy is about 50 years. That is no coincidence. Native American communities have been disempowered by the government’s theft of their property and thus their potential for sustenance and opportunity. The United States still holds on to a huge amount of land that was directly stolen from Native tribes, not including vast swaths of land appropriated by the United States government, which this report does not account for.

Anaya said the Rosebud Sioux community is one example where the government returning land that was clearly stolen directly from Native residents, is one way that the government could begin a “process of reconciliation” that could create ripple effects in ending police brutality and systemic racism against Native Americans.

“At Rosebud, that’s a situation where indigenous people have seen over time encroachment on to their land and they’ve lost vast territories and there have been clear instances of broken treaty promises. It’s undisputed that the Black Hills was guaranteed them by treaty and that treaty was just outright violated by the United States in the 1900s. That has been recognized by the United States supreme court,” he explained.

The Guardian reports that Anaya said he “would reserve detailed recommendations on a plan for land restoration until he presents his final report to the UN human rights council in September.”

Anaya added that he’s “talking about restoring to indigenous peoples what obviously they’re entitled to and they have a legitimate claim to in a way that is not divisive but restorative. That’s the idea behind reconciliation.”

But he notes that this is likely to be met with strong resistance in Congress, just as previous calls for the US government to pay reparations for slavery to African-American communities were also disregarded.

As noted, members of the US government have so far refused to meet with Anaya to discuss this report with him.

“I typically meet with members of the national legislature on my country visits and I don’t know the reason,” he explained.

This is huge news, so don’t expect it to be discussed much in the mainstream media. Do you agree with the report? If you do, or if you think it’s a step in the right direction, help us get the word out!

(Article by M. David; S. Wooten and Reagan Ali; image via #Op309 Media)

Source: Counter Current News, Posted September 8, 2015.


First Nations Man Victim Of ‘Police Brutality’, Say Whitehorse Protesters

More than 50 protesters, many of them Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation members, gathered outside Whitehorse RCMP headquarters on Friday. (Cheryl Kawaja/CBC)

More than 50 protesters, many of them Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation members, gathered outside Whitehorse RCMP headquarters on Friday. (Cheryl Kawaja/CBC)

CBC News Posted: Apr 10, 2015

More than 50 people gathered outside Yukon RCMP headquarters in Whitehorse this afternoon to protest what many were calling “police brutality”.

The demonstration came in the wake of a viral video that showed a Yukon First Nations man being pinned to the ground and punched by an RCMP officer during an arrest last weekend. The video was posted on Facebook and within days had been seen by nearly 850,000 people. RCMP responded by calling for a third-party investigation.

“I was actually enraged,” says protester Hayley Mintz about seeing the video. “He’s a good friend of mine and he’s not a bad guy.”

The demonstrators gathered on the lawn and sidewalk in front of the RCMP building. Some were drumming and chanting, while others stood quietly, holding placards. “Am I next?” read one sign. Another read, “Police need more training.”

“We teach our children to look to the RCMP for safety, now I have issues,” says protester Jackie Bear. “I support anybody and everybody who’s been hurt by the RCMP. It’s just wrong.”

Inspector Archie Thompson talks to reporters at a protest outside RCMP headquarters in Whitehorse. (Cheryl Kawaja/CBC)

Inspector Archie Thompson talks to reporters at a protest outside RCMP headquarters in Whitehorse. (Cheryl Kawaja/CBC)

Whitehorse RCMP Inspector Archie Thompson came out during the protest to speak to reporters. He said police respect the protesters’ rights to demonstrate, and are taking their concerns very seriously.

“It’s not okay to use more force than is necessary to do our duty,” Thompson said. But he said it’s important to allow the investigation to proceed, before drawing conclusions about the officer’s conduct.

“I know our members have worked for years to build relationships, and I would hate to see one incident compromise that,” Thompson said.

‘Things have to change’

The man arrested in the video, Josh Skookum, is from the Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation. His father, Ed Skookum, was among the protesters, along with Little Salmon Carmacks chief Eric Fairclough.

“Things have to change,” Fairclough said. During the protest, he went inside the RCMP building to speak to police about the protesters’ concerns. He left feeling reassured.

Eric Fairclough

Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation chief Eric Fairclough. (Cheryl Kawaja/CBC)

“I expressed that people want to see some action by the RCMP to make improvements to the relationship between them and the First Nations people,” Fairclough said. “They [police] do want to work on improving relations and they want to get to the bottom of it too.”

Fairclough says he was told the independent investigation into Josh Skookum’s arrest would begin next week. The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) has been called in by RCMP to lead the investigation, as an impartial third-party. In the meantime, RCMP say the arresting officer shown in the video has been reassigned to administrative duties.

A statement from ASIRT says it is working with RCMP and the Yukon government to appoint a community liaison, to act as an impartial observer to the investigation. Fairclough says he offered police the names of several possible candidates.

“There needs to be improvement here in the Yukon,” Fairclough said. “Thank goodness for modern technology that can capture these things.”



Protesters march on Rapid City Hall for racial equality

Native Lives Matter movement supporters walk past the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Thursday afternoon en route to the City/School Administration Center as part of the All Relations Community March Against Racism.

Native Lives Matter movement supporters walk past the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Thursday afternoon en route to the City/School Administration Center as part of the All Relations Community March Against Racism.

In frigid, windy but sunny conditions, more than 100 protesters Thursday marched on the Rapid City-School Administration Center downtown as part of a movement calling for government accountability to resolve social injustices toward Native Americans.

The Thursday march coincided with the release a 12-page report by the Lakota People’s Law Project, “Native Lives Matter,” which asserts the U.S. justice system is responsible for those injustices.

Prominent topics noted in the report include police brutality, namely that Native Americans are the most likely to be killed by law enforcement; that Native American children make up 1 percent of the nation’s youth population but account for 70 percent of youths committed overall to the Federal Bureau of Prisons; and that Native Americans are victims of violent crimes at twice the rate of all other U.S. residents.

“The roots of these problems are money and racism,” according to the report.

Chase Iron Eyes, attorney for the Lakota People’s Law Project, led the march, which started at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center band shell in Memorial Park, traversed the Memorial Park Promenade, stopped traffic on Omaha Street and ended in front of the City-School Administration Center at 300 Sixth Street downtown.

“My relatives, I’m at a tipping point,” Iron Eyes told the crowd that massed Thursday despite the blustery weather. “I know you’re at a tipping point because we can’t take this any longer.”

If those in power had their way, Iron Eyes said, “We would exist in the margins of poverty for the next 100 years,” he said. “They would sentence us to death by poverty if they had their way.”

Iron Eyes said the fatal police shooting of 30-year-old Allen Locke in December was the most recent incident between Native Americans and the Rapid City Police Department. The U.S. Department of Justice cleared the officer involved in the shooting, though many in the Native American community have protested that the incident was improperly investigated.

Iron Eyes said there have been too many Native Americans killed by Rapid City Police, and there have been too many Native Americans found dead along Rapid Creek.

“We felt that was a crisis situation and that we needed more than just rhetoric at rallies,” Iron Eyes said of the origin of the Native Lives Matter report.

He said economic empowerment is the only way to compensate for injustices toward Native Americans.

Iron Eyes said Lakota People’s Law Project, in conjunction with the group Native Lives Matter, will be reaching out to state, Pennington County, Rapid City and tribal governments for an economic analysis of the fiscal impact of Native Americans on the region.

The numbers would include not only money spent by Native Americans, but also what health care funding is brought into the state or any sort of institutional spending on behalf of the tribes, Iron Eyes said.

“We want all those numbers because currently there is a stereotype that Natives don’t pay taxes,” he said. “Well, we’re paying at least 4, 8 percent, or whatever the sales, excise, use, alcohol, tobacco, vehicle (taxes) — any kind of taxes that we pay to the Rapid City economy, we would like a percentage of that.”

Bryan Brewer, a former president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and director of the Lakota Nation Invitational event, said during the march that the community will have to stride together to erase racism.

But Brewer said city leadership needs to present a plan for a fix moving forward, especially if LNI is to continue its decades-long presence in Rapid City.

“The Lakota Nation Invitational, right now, we don’t want to leave Rapid City. This is our home also,” he said. “We’ve been here for 38 years, and we want to stay and fight this issue. We don’t want to run. But if we have to, we will. We will be out of Rapid City.

“The (LNI) board, the schools: We’re going to be looking to see what Rapid City does, what plans that they have to make sure all of our children are safe when we come to Rapid City, and I just can’t say enough that we have to work together.”

Police Are Killing Native Americans At An Alarming Rate — So Why Isn’t Anyone Talking About It?


There are 5.1 million American Indians and Alaska Natives in the U.S. as of 2011, significantly fewer than the country’s 45 million black Americans (as of 2013). But like black Americans, indigenous people are killed by law enforcement officers at rates that far outstrip their share of the population.

While #BlackLivesMatter evolved into a national rallying cry for racial justice over the summer, a largely overlooked #NativeLivesMatter movement has been quietly galvanizing activists as well. Few mainstream outlets report on it, but the indigenous blogosphere and Twitterverse abound with horror stories, not the least of which is that six Native men and women were killed by police in November and December alone.