Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller listens to chiefs as they line up to speak during a session at the AFN Special Chiefs Assembly in Ottawa, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller did not parse words on police violence against Indigenous people, after two officer-involved incidents this week – one with a man in Nunavut, the other the fatal shooting of B.C. woman Chantel Moore in New Brunswick.

While the news conference on Friday (June 5) was intended to be an update on COVID-19 cases in Indigenous communities, Miller was questioned by reporters about the two recent incidents and racism.

The minister said that he “watched in disgust” a graphic video showing an RCMP officer in Nunavut ramming his car door into a 22-year-old Inuk man walking along a road on Monday evening.

The young man, who has not been identified by police, was arrested for domestic assault and failing to comply with probation orders and taken into police custody. The video shows him notably intoxicated. He was later beaten by another man in the same holding cell and had to be airlifted to hospital.

Miller said he had also been briefed on the the fatal police shooting of Moore, a member of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation near Tofino on Vancouver Island. The 26-year-old mother had recently moved to Edmundston, N.B. to be closer to her daughter.

READ MORE: Alberni Valley, West Coast First Nations gather to remember woman fatally shot by police

Her boyfriend, who lives in Ontario, called Edmundston Police early Thursday morning to conduct a wellness check on Moore. She ended up being shot and killed. Police said in a statement that Moore was holding a knife and making threats.

Moore’s family has said that she was shot five times by the officer.

“I don’t understand how someone dies during a wellness check,” Miller said. “When I first saw the report I thought it was some morbid joke.”

The family of Moore and the young man deserve answers, the minister said.

“Frankly along with many Canadians, Indigenous Peoples living in Canada, politicians in Canada, I’m pissed, I’m outraged,” he said. “There needs to be a full accounting of what has gone on. This is a pattern that keeps repeating itself.”

The two incidents are being investigated separately by out-of-province civilian watchdog agencies.

Miller also spoke on the idea of making body cameras mandatory for police forces – saying that he is open to the idea but noted such measures haven’t stopped police violence over the border. Instead, Miller pointed to proper training and recruitment as necessary steps to end these incidents.

On Thursday, BC RCMP released a statement saying that the force is “deeply saddened by the anguish expressed by so many in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death in Minnesota.”

Deputy Commissioner Jennifer Strachan detailed a number of steps taken to “ensure biased-free policing,” including a dedicated hate crime team which provides advice and guidance on how to investigate hate crimes.

Last week, the Independent Investigations Office in B.C. forwarded a report to BC Prosecution Service for the consideration of excessive-force related charges against five RCMP officers to Crown counsel after an Indigenous man who was believed to be casing cars was killed during an arrest in 2017.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City of Williams Lake continues to chip away at debt load

In five years the total owing has been reduced from $14.1 million to $9.3 million

City overcharged South Lakeside residents on water and sewer tax, says Judy Albin

City staff are seeking direction from city council on how to proceed at Tuesday meeting

Witnesses sought in Quesnel River Bridge hit and run

The damage to the bridge is estimated to be over $30,000

Police probe reports that fire alarm didn’t sound during fatal Prince George motel blaze

A suspect was also arrested, but later released pending further investigation

Two arrested after shots fired complaint Monday night at Tyee Lake

Saunderson said RCMP immediately responded and located the suspect vehicle leaving the area

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Okanagan home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

‘Trauma equals addiction’: Why some seek solace in illicit drugs

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Most Read