When Dale Culver’s family heard this week’s court appearance by five RCMP officers charged in connection with his death was put over until May 2, they could barely react.
They were already emotionally drained.
“We have had to navigate a system that is somewhat disrespectful, somewhat exhausting,” said Culver’s cousin Debbie Pierre.
Last month, two Mounties were charged with manslaughter and three with attempting to obstruct justice related to the July 2017 death of Culver, a man from Gitxsan and Wet’suwe’ten First Nations in northern B.C.
“No one deserves to die (allegedly) at the hands of the RCMP,” said Culver’s daughter Lily Speed-Namox, “and no one deserves to die alone. We need to see some serious changes in our system and how the RCMP deal with those situations.”
Interaction with RCMP
Culver, 35, died after an interaction with RCMP officers in Prince George. Police said they received a report of a man casing vehicles and found a suspect who tried to flee on a bicycle.
The BC Independent Investigations Office, which reviews police-involved deaths, recommended criminal charges in May 2020.
Culver’s family said it has been a long six years dealing with the coroners’ office, police oversight body, legal advocacy groups and the RCMP.
They said they were looking forward to the first day of court in Prince George on March 13.
Only to learn of the two-month postponement a few days prior.
“(We’ve been) trying to figure out how to navigate that system as a family, but know any family that goes through this, you have a voice,” said Pierre.
“If something doesn’t feel right, if something doesn’t look right, ask the questions.”