The family of Rodney Levi is debunking a witness statement that said he wished to die at the hands of the RCMP.
“He wasn’t suicidal, that was from an unreliable witness that just wanted to be involved in the situation,” said Linda Levi, Rodney’s sister told APTN News in an email.
The witness statement is from a review released last week by the New Brunswick prosecutors office that summarizes the statements obtained by the BEI, Quebec’s independent investigation bureau.
The BEI investigated the RCMP shooting of the 48-old man from Metepenagiag First Nation. He died after he was shot by an RCMP officer on the evening of June 12, 2020.
The prosecutors office determined the shooting was justifiable, and the officer was protecting himself and the civilians who were present.
According to the report, Levi was attending a BBQ at his pastor’s house when he became distressed. He grabbed two chef knives from the kitchen and would not put them down, says the report.
Police were called and when they arrived, tasered Levi unsuccessfully.
The witnesses who were at the BBQ, say in the report that Levi said something to the effect, “you will have to put a bullet in me.”
The report says the witnesses used different words to describe how Levi approached the officer, which resulted in the fatal gun shots.
“Some said ‘lunging’ ’step’ ‘charge’ but all agreed, after the last time Levi was tasered, he went towards the officer with both knives pointing directly towards the officer,” said the report.
A witness, only identified only as “Witness 7” and “her,” was not at the scene when Levi was fatally shot – but according to the report, says her testimony describes Levi’s state of mind and intent.
Witness 7 is described as a close relative of Levi, according to her testimony.
Levi was living with her from June 9 to June 12, 2020, and Levi was severely depressed and kept talking about suicide by RCMP.
She said Levi left her home on the afternoon of June 2 and never saw him after that.
The prosecution office determines that Witness 7’s statement is significant, and is mentioned a few times in the summary of evidence and the legal analysis of the prosecutors report.
The report concludes; “Rodney Levi was severely depressed. He had been talking about suicide with Witness 7 for days and more specifically ’suicide by RCMP’,” and “ … unbeknownst to Officer A, that he wanted to commit ’suicide by RCMP.’
Last week the prosecution found the shooting to be justifiable.
“I found no criminal conduct on the part of Officer A and B on there night of June 12, 2020,” said Pierre Roussel, assistant deputy Attorney General.
Alisa Lombard, the lawyer representing the Levi family, said the witness statement is not credible, and is questioning the Crown’s decision not to press charges against the RCMP officer.
“If some diligence, if some professional investigation was not applied to determine whether or not witness number seven was credible, then what of the other testimonies?” said Lombard.
Lombard said the family is taking time to determine their next steps.
A coroner’s inquest is scheduled to begin next October.