The Metepenagiag First Nation in New Brunswick is struggling to find answers after Friday’s shooting death of Rodney Levi, a 48-year-old father of three.
“I think they just called the cops to have him peacefully removed,” said Chief Bill Ward. “But it wasn’t anything from what I’m hearing, there was no threats or violence.”
Levi was shot by the RCMP after officers were called to a home in Sunny Corner, just across the river from Metepenagiag.
He died shortly after in hospital.
According to the Mounties, officers said they were confronted by a man carrying a knife, said RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Jullie Rogers-Marsh.
They said the officer first deployed a Taser but it was unsuccessful, she said.
Another officer fired on Levi.
Linda Levi, Rodney’s older sister, said he lived with mental health issues.
She said she believes the RCMP overreacted – and that her brother should still be alive.
“We need to bring back our own policing; we need our own policing back,” she said. “We don’t, you know, we don’t need more RCMP’s to do more damage than they already have.”
This is the second fatal shooting in the past week.
On June 4, Chantel Moore was killed by an Edmundston, N.B., police officer who was conducting a wellness check.
Watch Tina House’s report on the march in memory of Chantel Moore from Vancouver
After Moore was killed, Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller said he was “outraged” at what happened.
“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… I’m pissed. I’m outraged.”
But if Miller was surprised, an Elder in Tobique First Nation told APTN News after the shooting happened that she was not.
“Was really not a shock to me personally because of the continuous mistreatments that we’ve endured throughout the decades by the RCMP as well as city or town cops has not changed,” Elder Hart Perley told APTN last week.
Tensions in the community are high and Ward is asking the RCMP to stay away.
“People need time to grieve and, especially, with everything happening, there’s already a distrust with the RCMP, unfortunately, and this has only solidified that,” he said.
Quebec’s police watchdog agency – the Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes (BEI) – is investigating the shooting of Moore and Levi because New Brunswick doesn’t have an independent review agency.