OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) — The Native Women’s Association of Canada has sent a letter to RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki urging her to end what it calls the needless killings and assaults of Indigenous women, men and gender-diverse people by police.
The recent police killings of Chantel Moore and Rodney Levi in New Brunswick, and the battering of Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam by RCMP officers in Alberta have brought the issue to national attention, the association says in a release.
It wants the RCMP to equip officers with body cameras and to make non-violent apprehension the imperative when a suspect doesn’t have a gun.
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The violent RCMP arrest of a First Nation leader in northern Alberta caught on tape is an example of systemic racism among the RCMP, according to the lawyer who made video public. . The RCMP dashcam footage shows the tense moments that unfolded the morning of Mar. 10 when Fort Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam was tackled by an officer and punched in the head after leaving a Fort McMurray casino with his wife. . Once Adam is tackled to the ground, the officer can be heard yelling at Adam to stop resisting. The 12-minutes of video eventually shows Adam being led away in handcuffs, his face bloodied. . The Fort Chipewyan chief is calling on the government to investigate the incident which started over expired registration tags on his truck. . Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called for an independent, transparent investigation Friday. . Full story and video on our website. Link in bio. Video credit: Court Exhibit #NEWS1130 #RCMP #Alberta #FortMcMurray #FortMac ##FirstNation #Indigenous #FortChipewyan #arrest #court
“Shoot-to-kill” orders should be revised, says the association.
It also wants the commissioner to ensure social workers, health professionals or elders get the call when an Indigenous person is suffering a mental health crisis.
“These reforms would be a starting point in ending the violence. Many more must follow,” says the release.
Lorraine Whitman, president of the association, has arranged to meet in July with Lucki.
The association is also asking the RCMP and other Canadian police forces to join with it in forming a task force to rewrite the relationship between police and Indigenous women.
“We want culturally appropriate protocols that will keep our women, girls and gender-diverse people safe, not just from street killers and other assailants who have targeted them as prey, but from the police themselves,” Whitman says.
Meanwhile, Federal Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said Tuesday that policing First Nations communities must be made an essential service — a change advocated for by Indigenous leaders for years.
Blair told a Commons committee the federal government will work with Indigenous communities to make that happen.
“It is our intent to co-develop, with Indigenous communities and Indigenous leadership across Canada, a new legislative framework for the delivery of culturally approprtiate, professional, and effective police services,” he said.