Tag Archives: RCMP

3 grief-stricken Indigenous families meet to share pain, call for justice reform

Grace Frank, Chantel Moore’s grandmother, shows the tattoo she got in memory of her granddaughter. (Jean Philippe Hughes/Radio-Canada)

Families of Chantel Moore, Rodney Levi and Brady Francis meet in Metepenagiag First Nation

The grandmother of Chantel Moore, a 26-year-old Indigenous woman killed by Edmundston police, unveiled her new tattoo memorializing her granddaughter — her name as a rose stem above words she often spoke.

“Stay Golden,” Grace Frank told reporters. “They were her favourite words.”

For a week and a half, Moore’s relatives have been mourning the loss of their loved one and seeking answers from police, and on Monday they met with two other Indigenous families from New Brunswick First Nations dealing with tragedy.

The family of Rodney Levi, a 48-year-old member of the Metepenagiag First Nation who was shot and killed by Sunny Corner RCMP on Friday, and the mother and sister of Brady Francis, a 22-year-old Elsipogtog First Nation man killed in a 2018 hit-and-run, sat down with Moore’s family in Metepenagiag.

Ken Levi, Rodney Levi’s uncle, was among the family members to meet Monday. He wants to see community policing return the First Nation. (CBC)

Also present were Metepenagiag Chief Bill Ward and Elsipogotog Chief Arren Sock. They shared in their grief, discussed justice reform and feasted together.

“It’s bringing us together. It’s bringing us all across Canada. We want to put a stop to this. There’s no need of killing our people,” said Frank, who travelled to the province from British Columbia last week.

“With us, all standing together, we’ll be stronger.

“We all want justice.”

Discussing their pain

The uncle of Rodney Levi said it was an opportunity for the families “to discuss their pain.”

“To have the Moore family come all the way here, I don’t know if it’s coincidence or the creator’s way of getting everybody together — I know it’s a bad way — but to have all the face-to-face discussions of how they’re feeling … what they’ve experienced over this thing, really brought everybody together,” Ken Levi said.

Joe Martin, Chantel Moore’s uncle, described how difficult it is seeing how Moore’s young daughter has been affected by her death. (CBC)

He said the families will share information to their respective legal teams as the investigations progress.

Rodney Levi was fatally shot by a police officer who was responding to a call for an unwanted person at the Boom Road Pentecostal Church. Its lead pastor has since said he was a welcome guest.

RCMP say police were confronted by a man carrying knives. A stun gun was deployed several times but was unsuccessful. A member of the RCMP discharged a firearm.

Quebec’s independent police investigation agency, the Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes, is investigating the shooting. The agency is also tasked with looking into Chantel Moore’s death.

Moore, originally from Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation in British Columbia, was killed by Edmundston police on June 4 during a wellness check. Police allege Moore had threatened the officer with a knife.

Francis’ family and members of Elsipogtog First Nation were saddened and angered by the April 27 judge’s decision to acquit the man charged in connection with his death. The Crown prosecution said May 27 it will not be appealing the verdict.

“There’s no justice for First Nations people in Canada,” Chief Sock said following the decision.

‘This little girl is hurt’

On Monday, Moore’s uncle, Joe Martin, said the three families shared “in the pain felt across this country.”

He told reporters Moore’s six-year-old daughter, Gracie, asked him, “Was my mommy bad? Is that why the cops shot her?”

Metepenagiag Chief Bill Ward wants to community policing return to his First Nation. (CBC)

“This little girl is hurt,” Martin said, turning to look directly in the camera. “Do you know what you did to her? You hurt her.”

First Nation leaders have called for an Indigenous-led team to head the investigations into Moore and Levi’s deaths, and her family are seeking a full public inquiry into the shooting.

Policing alternative

Community policing for First Nations was among the suggestions raised by family members and Indigenous officials Monday.

Ken Levi, a long-time fishery officer for Fisheries and Oceans Canada, previously served as a police officer and band constable working out of the Sunny Corner RCMP detachment.

He said he sees the value in reviving the model.

“We policed our own basically,” Levi said. “When somebody has a bad day and you have community police, your own police, they know who’s having a bad day.”

The Metepenagiag chief echoed Levi, saying the government needs to allocate funds so the First Nation can re-establish community police.

Ward said their voices need to be heard.

“Governments and policing, they were all based on oppression of our people and there needs to be significant fundamental change to all these systems and all these institutions in order for us to be fairly represented and to stop these tragedies from happening to our people,” Ward said.

Meeting with Higgs

On Monday, Premier Blaine Higgs said he and four of his cabinet ministers will meet with First Nations chiefs of New Brunswick on Wednesday.

Higgs said the process of making changes and healing cannot wait.

Ward said he was pleased the premier wants to meet, but he wants to see movement on ending systemic racism.

“Acknowledgment is one thing,” he said, “action is another.”

With files from Logan Perley, Radio-Canada

By CBC News · Posted: Jun 16, 2020.

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Manitoba protesters blockade CN Rail line, demand RCMP leave Wet’suwet’en territory

About half a dozen protesters occupy a rail station along the CN line approximately seven kilometres west of Winnipeg. (Gary Solilak/CBC)

CN rail lines in B.C. and Ontario have also been blocked by Wet’suwet’en supporters in the last week

A Manitoba railway just outside Winnipeg is being blocked by a group of protesters to show support for the Wet’suwet’en in British Columbia, whose hereditary leaders are fighting construction of a pipeline through their traditional territory.

About a dozen protesters lit a fire Wednesday morning and are occupying an area near a crossing of a CN rail line about seven kilometres west of the Perimeter Highway, on Wilkes Avenue.

The protesters said they won’t end their demonstration until the RCMP leaves the traditional territory of the Wet’suwet’en people in B.C., where police arrested more than 20 people over the weekend who were blocking Coastal GasLink workers from accessing the traditional territory.

RCMP began enforcing a court order against those blocking construction on the pipeline last Thursday, sparking protests across the country.

“We’re here showing solidarity for other Indigenous people, for other Indigenous nations — First Nations whose territories were invaded by RCMP [and] Coastal GasLinks,” said Harrison Powder, one of the Manitoba blockade participants.

“They violated Indigenous laws, Indigenous lands, and Indigenous rights, and that kind of stuff has to be protested against. We have to stand up against that,” he said.

“We want the RCMP out of there.”

Harrison Powder said the group will continue to block the rail line until RCMP leave the Wet’suwet’en territory in B.C. (Gary Solilak/CBC)

Earlier this week, hundreds of protesters filled Winnipeg’s downtown streets to show support for Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who are trying to stop construction of the pipeline.

Blockades in other provinces have cancelled more than 150 Via Rail passenger trains and forced a similar number of freight trains to sit idle.

CN Rail’s president and CEO, J.J. Ruest, told CBC News on Tuesday that the protests threaten industry across the country, including the transport of everything from food to construction materials to natural resources.

On Wednesday, CN Rail said train movements in the area of the Manitoba protest are currently stopped.

“We are monitoring the situation and evaluating our legal options very closely,” a spokesperson said in an email.

While the blockade is focused on the CN line, protesters are set up a spot where it intersects with a CP Rail line.

CP Rail said it is monitoring the situation, but wouldn’t say if any of its trains would be affected.

‘A long time coming’

The Manitoba protesters, who gathered Wednesday as bitter winds made it feel as cold as –44, hope to send a message to the federal government, as well as RCMP and industry leaders.

“When you invade Indigenous territory, and you try to force pipelines on our people, there’s consequences to that, and this here today is one of those consequences,” said Powder.

“This has been a long time coming, these blockades. Our people have been saying for years ‘we can shut down this country, we can stop the economy, we can cause major economic damage’ — and it’s happening now.”

Both RCMP and CN Rail police were monitoring the blockade site on Wednesday. (Gary Solilak/CBC)

Both Manitoba RCMP and CN Rail police were at the blockade Wednesday. An RCMP spokesperson said officers were there to monitor the protest and keep the peace.

“The Manitoba RCMP has sent Division Liaison Team (DLT) officers to the protest site,” the spokesperson said in an email. “The role of the DLT officers is to establish a dialogue and maintain open and ongoing communication.”

Province will seek injunction

The Manitoba government said Wednesday it plans to seek a court injunction to end the blockade.

Premier Brian Pallister says the province’s Justice Department will seek to obtain an injunction and have it enforced within a few days.

He says he respects the rights of protesters, but laws need to be applied.

“The point is to make sure that we’re standing up for the freedoms and rights of all people, and not standing back while two-tier justice happens in our province,” Pallister told The Canadian Press on Wednesday.

“As much as we will always respect the right of protesters to have a voice, they don’t have a veto and … they don’t have the right to put their rights ahead of everyone else and to disregard the laws of our province and country.”

By: Holly Caruk · CBC News · Posted: Feb 12, 2020

[SOURCE]

Release report into RCMP conduct during Rexton protests, says anti-shale gas group

Vehicles were burned at the scene of a shale gas protest in Rexton six years. Anti-shale activists want the report into RCMP conduct during the violent clashes made public. (Courtesy of Gilles Boudreau)

RCMP vehicles burned, dozens arrested in October 2013 protests in Kent County

Anti-shale gas activists are calling for the release of an independent investigation into RCMP action during violent protests in Rexton six years ago.

Dozens were arrested during months of protests near Elsipogtog First Nation that saw a blockade erected on Route 134 to stop gas exploration in the area.

In October 2013, RCMP officers used force to disperse protesters and six RCMP vehicles were burned during the clashes.

The independent Civilian Review and Complaints Commission investigated complaints about police conduct during the protests. Commissioners held public meetings in the Kent County area in 2015.

The New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance says it has heard nothing from the commission since that time, and it’s tired of waiting. It’s calling on RCMP and government officials to release the commission’s findings.

Alliance spokesperson Denise Melanson says it’s important to know the truth.

Denise Melanson, a spokesperson for the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance, said the group is becoming impatient and wants to see the report. (Radio-Canada)

“What happened was so anti-democratic and, you know, when governments use force and the secret state to impose things on the public, we’re not talking about a democracy anymore,” Melanson said.

“This is really, really important. And it’s not just that I need to prove that I was right about what happened. It’s more that we really need to know that our government isn’t behaving like this.”

Report delivered to RCMP

In an email, a spokesperson for the commission confirmed the Rexton riot report was delivered to the RCMP last March.

When the RCMP commissioner’s office reacts, the commission will prepare its final report, the spokesperson said.

The report contains testimony from 130 witnesses, 50,000 records and thousands of video files.

The evidence gathered is voluminous: 130 civilian witnesses were heard, 50,000 records and thousands of video files collected, which may explain why the investigation lasted so long.

The Council of Canadians is circulating a petition to ask Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale to release the report.

CBC News also contacted Public Safety Canada. The department referred the query back to the complaints commission.

With files from Radio-Canada

CBC News · Posted: Sep 18, 2019 

[SOURCE]

 

Northern First Nations will need trauma support after hunt for B.C. pair ends, chiefs say

Heavily armed police officers search the community of York Landing, Man., for B.C. homicide suspects Bryer Schmegelsky and Kam McLeod on Monday. (Gilbert Rowan/CBC)

Counsellors and therapists will be needed to deal with search’s lingering effects

It isn’t clear when, where or how the hunt for two B.C. homicide suspects will end, but Indigenous leaders suspect it will linger in the minds of northern Manitoba First Nation residents well after the large police and military presence is gone.

“Everybody is still kind of overwhelmed and uneasy,” Leroy Constant, chief of York Factory First Nation in York Landing, Man., said on Tuesday.

Constant and other leaders in the North say when the expansive search for fugitives Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky comes to a close, people in remote communities will need additional help processing what happened.

Schmegelsky and McLeod have been charged with second-degree murder in the death of University of British Columbia lecturer Leonard Dyck, and they’re suspects in the killings of American tourist, Chynna Deese, and her Australian boyfriend, Lucas Fowler.

The search, now in its ninth day, was initially focused on Gillam, about 740 kilometres north of Winnipeg.

On Sunday, a “credible” tip drew searchers 90 kilometres south through buggy, boggy, difficult terrain into nearby York Landing.

RCMP and military personnel swiftly descended on the community. Locals in the small, isolated town of about 500 people were warned to lock up and stay indoors.

After a thorough, if brief and unfruitful, ground and air sweep of the area, those personnel had mostly pulled out of York Landing by Tuesday and refocused on Gillam.

Even though the imminent threat appears to be gone now, Constant said, the tension remains and residents in York Landing are shaken.

“That’s the feeling, still,” he said.

Constant said the next step is to bring in counsellors and therapists for those in York Landing who need help.

Garrison Settee, grand chief of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO), an advocacy group that represents 30 First Nations in northern Manitoba, said the impact of having such a large police and military presence on such a tightly knit community will likely include lasting psychological effects.

As the search dissipates, the RCMP will rely on the public for leads, according to former officers. (Angela Johnston/CBC)

“It was quite intense for the people there,” he said. “Most definitely, a community of that size was traumatized.”

Settee said he spoke with York Landing leaders about the need for healing, which is why, he says, MKO’s mobile crisis response team will soon be made available.

The MKO team consists of support workers who are flown into remote First Nations, typically when there has been a family tragedy or suicide crisis, Settee said. Team workers specialize in critical incident stress debriefing, sharing circles, one-on-one counselling and mental health therapy, among other services.

The team has already been deployed to Fox Lake Cree Nation, where part of the search took place last week.

Settee said York Landing could benefit from even more support. Constant said he plans to utilize federal crisis services, including additional counsellors, through Indigenous Services Canada.

Now that Gillam is again the focus of the search, Mayor Dwayne Forman said the town is considering ways it, too, should support residents’ mental health once the hunt winds down.

RCMP (CBC News)

“I think for the short-term there’s going to be some concern still and apprehension: still locking doors, I guess, the feeling of not being totally secure anymore in our community,” he said.

“I am hoping that we can get back to the way we were.”

Brian Sauvé, president of the National Police Federation, the union that represents RCMP members, said the northern Manitoba search comes with the kind of demands Mounties are trained to face in other mass deployments, such as floods or wild fires, with one important exception.

“You’re obviously a little more vigilant, because in a flood you’re not thinking that someone is going to shoot you,” said Sauvé. “That weighs on the exhaustion stand point — exhaustion comes quicker — but as far as mass deployments it’s not unique.”

Still, Sauvé said, the droves of RCMP and military personnel who have been working around the clock for more than a week will need care themselves.

“Fatigued, tired, overworked, [they will] need time away with their families, time to decompress,” he said.

An Indigenous Services Canada spokesperson said Indigenous people in need of mental health support can call 1-855-242-3310 or visit the Hope for Wellness website for “culturally competent” crisis intervention help.

By: CBC News · Posted: Jul 31, 2019

Lobster fishing dispute between families leads to 6-person melee

3 arrested, 2 taken to hospital after golf club, baseball bat and wrench used in fight

A long-standing dispute between two families over lobster fishing on the Eastern Shore boiled over on Saturday and led to a fight between six people in Little Harbour, N.S.

In a press release issued Tuesday, RCMP said two men went to the home of another man to confront him.

Two more men arrived and a fight broke out around 5 p.m., with some people using weapons including a wrench, a golf club and a baseball bat.

Little Harbour is located about 35 kilometres east of Musquodoboit Harbour.

Two men were taken to hospital. A woman was also injured, but did not require medical treatment.

3 men face charges

RCMP arrested three men:

A South West Cove man, 33, was charged with assault with a weapon.
A Little Harbour man, 49, was charged with assault with a weapon, mischief and breach of undertaking.
A Little Harbour man, 21, was charged with assault, uttering threats and breach of undertaking.

RCMP Cpl. Lisa Croteau said police are taking the complaint seriously.

“Since the beginning of the lobster season, the RCMP has been conducting proactive patrols with a visible police presence on the water and this will continue until the end of the season,” she said in the release.

“Building a partnership with the fishing communities and ensuring everyone safety is a priority for the RCMP.”

CBC News · Posted: Jun 11, 2019

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