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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Parksville man, 95, gets lifetime achievement award for civil rights work

Bill Duncan worked with Martin Luther King Jr. in Chicago

71-unit rental apartment building proposed in downtown Parksville

Open house will take place before second reading of bylaw amendment

Construction to begin on new $2M fire hall in Deep Bay

Long-term debt will be financed over a 20-year period

Parksville Royals hurler earns scholarship to Nebraska school

Frank came to mid-Island from Terrace to pursue baseball dreams

UPDATE: Vancouver Island skydiving community mourns loss of one of its own

James Smith, 34, of Victoria, dies in Nanoose Bay incident

The pandemic is widening Canada’s workplace gender gap

Gender pay gap is incentivizing fathers to work while mothers watch children, a new B.C. study has found

Young tourist caught untying boats from Ucluelet dock

‘He was just untying the boats and watching them float away’

Indigenous leader Ed John pleads not guilty to historical sex charges

Ed John’s lawyer entered the plea by telephone on behalf of his client

Woman who talked to unconscious husband for 30 years gets solace from B.C. study

Ian Jordan suffered a head injury when he and another officer were on their way to a call in Victoria in September 1987

RCMP investigate threat against Indigenous totem poles on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast

Police describe the nature of the threat as ‘sensitive’

Saanich junior hockey team drops Braves name, First Nations logo

Club moves on after 53-years with First Nations logo

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Ghost gear accounts for up to 70 per cent of all macro-plastics in the ocean by weight

Ex-Okanagan Mountie forfeits 20 days’ pay after sexual misconduct review

A former Vernon RCMP constable made sexual comments, grabbed genitals of male officer in two incidents 10 years ago

Man found dead on Okanagan trail identified as Hollywood actor

GoFundMe campaign launched for man found dead at summit of Spion Kop

Most Read