Tag Archives: Thunder Bay

How a Facebook lie about Thunder Bay woman killed by trailer hitch spread

(Barbara Kentner/Facebook)

Social-media user who posted fake story about Barbara Kentner admits he was ‘wrong’

Tia Nicholaichuk said she was struck by how quickly the rumours spread on Facebook about Barbara Kentner, the Anishinaabe woman who died this summer after she was struck by a trailer hit thrown from a moving car in northern Ontario.

The 34-year-old social work student from Thunder Bay, Ont. said she was also bothered by the tone of some Facebook comments directed at Kentner after her family announced she was dying and also after her death.

“The lies had been going around for quite a while.” said Nicholaichuk. “There’s been really nasty things being said.”

Kentner, 34, died at about 5 a.m. July 4 in the hospice and palliative care unit of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Thunder Bay. On Jan. 29, at about 1 a.m., she was struck by a trailer hitch thrown from a car on McKenzie St. The impact of the trailer hitch created internal injuries that led to a slow and painful death, according to Kentner’s family.

Earlier this month, the Crown prosecutor announced he was upgrading the charge against Brayden Bushby, 18, to second-degree murder in connection with the trailer hitch incident. Bushby, who turned himself into police shortly after the January incident, was initially charged with aggravated assault.

Tyler Jeffries, 35, from Thunder Bay admitted he was ‘wrong’ about his claims. (Courtesy of Tia Nicholaichuk)

Nicholaichuk said she decided to act after the Crown’s announcement. She noticed a Facebook comment from someone debunking a long-shared lie that Kentner had been previously involved in an assault on a 15-year-old boy that left him with a caved-in eye-socket. Nicholaichuk said she wanted to get to the “bottom of this” and began sifting through posts, primarily from the Real Concerned Citizens of Thunder Bay Facebook group.

“When I sat down and tried to trace this rumour and I kind of put all these screenshots together of misinformation being spread and just outright hate, it was really shocking,” said Nicholaichuk. “The whole story people were basing this on was fabricated. I realized I needed to get the word out there as soon as soon as possible.”

Origins of the fake story

Nicholaichuk provided CBC News with a number of posts she collected, many from the Real Concerned Citizens Facebook group.

It appears the rumour that Kentner had previously assaulted a boy began after a redacted copy of a court document sheet with Kentner’s name was posted on the Thunder Bay Courthouse — Inside Edition Facebook page in February. It claimed Kentner and two other women were facing several charges for allegedly assaulting and intimidating a Crown witness on Nov. 8, 2016. The posted copy had the victim’s name redacted.

CBC News obtained a copy of the original court document and it identified the victim as a woman.

One of the people who supported the story was Thunder Bay resident Tyler Jeffries, who also posted under the name Gregory Lusko. He claimed the boy was a child of a “friend of mine” and that he was “friends with the family.”

The story was repeated by several posters and some continue to believe it.

CBC News contacted Jeffries about his posts. He said he was “wrong” and that he never knew the family of the boy.

Tyler Jeffries says he no longer throws pennies at ‘hookers.’ (Courtesy Tanya Toneguzzi)

“I was bullshitting about that,” said Jeffries, in a telephone interview. “I heard it from a buddy and he heard from a buddy’s buddy.”

Jeffries, who says he has friends from “all ethnicities,” maintained his belief that Kentner was a “monster” because she allegedly intimidated a witness — something that was never proven in court.

“Do I go around throwing pennies at hookers at the age of 35, no, absolutely not,” said Jeffries, who was banned from the Real Concerned Citizens Facebook group.

‘I don’t really care if she was purple’

An eyewitness to the Nov. 8, 2016, incident, which occurred in a park across from the Thunder Bay courthouse, said Kentner did not assault anyone. Holly Papassay, Kentner’s sister-in-law, said she arrived at the park as the melee was unfolding. She said Kentner did nothing more than yell during the incident and she was arrested for simply being friends with one of the women involved.

Papassay said the social media lies and hate have hurt the family.

“Seeing all those posts, and knowing my nephews and my niece, Barb’s daughter, were seeing this was heartbreaking,” said Papassay, in a Facebook conversation with CBC News. “And it angered me…. That’s just sickening and shows how cowardly most of them are, to hide behind a screen and talk trash.”

Tanya Toneguzzi was another Facebook poster who believed Jeffries’ story. Toneguzzi bristled at the suggestion her posts reflect racism.

“I don’t really care if she was purple, it just so happens she was Native,” said Toneguzzi, in a Facebook conversation with CBC News. “If I was ‘ranting’ about a case such as Barbara’s, and the deceased person was Caucasian, do you really think people would be angry with me? No, it wouldn’t matter because the person was Caucasian.”

Tanya Toneguzzi believed the story of the 15-year-old boy. (Courtesy of Tia Nicholaichuk)

Toneguzzi said Bushby has also been bashed on social media.

“I’m sure that a lot of things said on social media hurt Bushby’s family,” she said. “The fact that people are trying to say that this was a ‘hate crime’ is unfair. We don’t even know the true facts in regards to the alleged incident.”

Racist posters blocked

Pino Demasi, one of the moderators of Real Concerned Citizens — which has over 13,000 members — said discussion on the page, while sometimes heated, is generally civil and he’s seen opinions evolve.

“There is a small group of people who are vocal about what they feel,” said Demasi. “I don’t think the comments of a few reflect the actual atmosphere of Thunder Bay. I think they are more of the louder people you see.”

Demasi said there are about 9,000 group members who are from Thunder Bay and the page sees roughly about 1,700 posts and between 60,000 to 100,000 comments a month.

He said the page’s banned poster list is about 2,000 people long and about 1,000 were blocked for racist comments.

“The majority, 30 to 40 per cent, are definitely toward Indigenous people,” said Damssi. “The No. 2 would be towards white people.”

Article By Jorge Barrera, published in CBC News on Nov 18, 2017

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Brayden Bushby Charged With 2nd Degree Murder After Death of Indigenous Woman Hit by Trailer Hitch

Barbara Kentner (Facebook).

Charge upgraded from aggravated assault to second-degree murder

Brayden Bushby, 18, has been charged with second-degree murder after allegedly throwing a trailer hitch from a car that struck an Indigenous woman who later died in hospital.

According to CBC News, Bushby was originally charged with aggravated assault by Thunder Bay police in February. Barbara Kentner, 34, died in July.

Bushby made a brief court appearance Friday morning; afterward, acting Crown Attorney Andrew Sadler confirmed the murder charge.

Bushby, who is in custody, is scheduled for a bail hearing Friday afternoon

He will make another court appearance on Nov. 6.

Details of the case have been subjected to a publication ban.

Racism Toward Indigenous People Escalating in Thunder Bay: Grand Chief

Nishnawbe Aski Nation chiefs begin emergency meeting to discuss student safety in Thunder Bay

The Canadian Press | July 6, 2017

First Nations leaders met for a second day Thursday to discuss serious concerns about safety of young people in Thunder Bay — a northwestern Ontario city that leads the country in hate crimes reported to police.

The decision to meet with federal and provincial officials was made last month, but recent tragedies have magnified its importance, said Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler.

Those include a recent double homicide involving two Indigenous people in Thunder Bay and the death Tuesday of an Indigenous woman who was injured in January when she was hit by a trailer hitch thrown from a moving car.

“This is not the kind of conference that we want to have, but we have to,” Fiddler said in an interview. “I think the issues are too urgent.”

Barbara Kentner, 34, told police she and her sister were walking in a residential neighbourhood when someone threw the heavy chunk of metal from a vehicle. Her sister Melissa said she heard someone in the vehicle say: “I got one.”

Fiddler also cited last year’s Ontario inquest into the deaths of seven First Nations high school students, during which witnesses reported having had objects or racial epithets hurled in their direction.

“That’s something I think all of us need to acknowledge … this is a real problem,” he said. “I think that’s the only way we can begin to come together and address these issues.”

Last month, amid concerns about local policing expressed by First Nations leaders, Ontario’s chief coroner asked an outside police force to help investigate the deaths of two Indigenous teens.

Dr. Dirk Huyer asked York Regional Police to get involved in the investigation of the deaths of 14-year-old Josiah Begg and 17-year-old Tammy Keeash.

In June, Statistics Canada reported that most of the police-reported hate incidents in Thunder Bay targeted Indigenous people, accounting for 29 per cent of all anti-Aboriginal hate crimes across Canada in 2015.

“Young people have told me repeatedly of walking home and having things flung at them out of cars,” Thunder Bay MP and Liberal cabinet minister Patty Hajdu said following the release of the Statistics Canada report.

“Indigenous women and Indigenous men who have experienced going to a store … and when they put their hand out to receive change, the storekeeper will purposely not touch their hand.”

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Barbara Kentner, First Nations Woman Hit by Trailer Hitch in Thunder Bay, Ont., Dies

Barbara Kentner, left, was struck by a trailer hitch thrown from a moving car in Thunder Bay, Ont., on Jan. 29. Her sister, Melissa Kentner, right, posted on Facebook that Barbara died on July 4. (Jody Porter/CBC)

Barbara Kentner, 34, was struck in January, police consider changing charge against man, 18

CBC News Posted: Jul 04, 2017

A First Nations woman who was hit by a trailer hitch, thrown from a passing car in Thunder Bay, Ont., last January, has died.

Barbara Kentner, 34, required surgery after being hit in the abdomen by the trailer hitch on Jan. 29. She was released from hospital in time to take part in a walk in her honour on Feb. 5, but later returned to medical care.

Her sister, Melissa Kentner told CBC News in March that Barbara would not recover from her injuries. Melissa posted on Facebook early Tuesday  that Barbara had died. She and other family members confirmed the death with CBC News.

The passenger in the car yelled, “Oh, I got one,” after throwing the hitch at the sisters who were walking on McKenzie Street between Dease and Cameron streets, Melissa Kentner told CBC News in February.

The internal damage when Kentner was hit in the kidneys by the hitch was irreparable and proved fatal, her sister said.

An 18-year-old man was charged with aggravated assault relating to the incident. Thunder Bay police told CBC News they are looking into whether the charges will be changed, in light of Kentner’s death.

[SOURCE]

 

First Nations Activists from Winnipeg to Blockade TransCanada Highway on Friday

Blockade at Ontario and Manitoba border. Photo: Red Power Media

Red Power Media | June 29, 2017

For immediate release

On, June 30th, 2017, First Nations activists from Winnipeg will be shutting down a portion of the TransCanada Highway to protest the Canadian government and bring awareness to the youth suicide crisis in First Nations communities as well to the deaths of several indigenous youth in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Members of the American Indian Movement, Urban Warrior Alliance and Idle No More will be taking part in a pipe ceremony for youth, followed by a blockade of the highway.

Representatives from groups taking part are demanding the Liberal government increase the availability of mental health services on reserves and provide culturally appropriate resources for youth including in Manitoba. Inadequate health-care services, the loss of cultural identity and lack of proper housing are key factors contributing to the high rates of suicide and mental illness among indigenous peoples. Recently in Ontario, three 12 year old girls died by suicide at Wapekeka First Nation, located about 600 kilometres north of Thunder Bay. The latest one happened June 13th when a pre-teen girl hung herself.

The deaths of several Indigenous youth in Thunder Bay have also raised concerns about racism against Indigenous people and inadequate police investigations. First Nations leaders have expressed their lack of faith in Thunder Bay police. The York Regional Police service have been requested to investigate the deaths of Josiah Begg, 14, and Tammy Keeash, 17, found dead in McIntyre River in May. Ten indigenous people have been found dead in Thunder Bay, since 2000. Seven were First Nations students who died between 2000 and 2011 while attending high school in the Thunder Bay, hundreds of kilometres away from their remote communities where access to education is limited. Organizers of Fridays protest would like to see improvement in First Nations education and increase in funding for schooling on reserves.

Activists are requesting the RCMP respect their right to protest. They plan to start their demonstration around 12 pm just east of Winnipeg near Deacon’s corner. A press conference will also take place at that time. Activists are planning to hand out information to motorists and collect signatures on a petition calling for immediate action from the minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Carolyn Bennet, as well as the Minister of Health Jane Philpott.