Mother whose son was held at gunpoint pushes back against Iqaluit RCMP wearing ‘thin blue line’ patch

A mother and politician in Iqaluit says the RCMP must do something about any officer in Nunavut wearing a “thin blue line” patch.

At least one RCMP officer in Iqaluit was spotted wearing the controversial patch on their uniform over the holidays.

Iqaluit mother Janet Brewster, who had an experience in September 2020 when her son was held at gunpoint by the police after they mistakenly identified him, with a very broad description, of an “Inuk male with a hunting rifle,” says the RCMP needs to follow through with its own regulations.

Also known as the “blue lives matter” patch, critics say it creates an “us versus them” situation between police and those being policed.

Whatever people think about it – it’s not allowed on the uniform of a Mountie.

“Bringing this issue forward, even as a news item, will encourage the RCMP in Nunavut to follow through on that ban and to ensure that their employees are not walking around town wearing a racist symbol,” says Brewster who is also an MLA in Nunavut. “What is really well known as a racist symbol, adopted by Proud Boys, it’s part of the white nationalist movement all over North America and probably the world.”

Online, some officers say the thin blue line patch symbolizes solidarity – but the symbol has taken a different turn since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Policing agencies across the country including Toronto, the Ontario Provincial Police and the RCMP banned the use of the patch telling officers to stick with the uniform that was issued to them.

APTN News requested an interview with the head of the RCMP in Nunavut, chief superintendent Amanda Jones, but she declined. Instead, the RCMP sent a statement but didn’t address what measures the Mounties will take to remove the patch from its officers.

“The RCMP has established symbols that are already approved for use, and are widely recognized and honoured by our colleagues and the public. The “thin blue line” is not a symbol the RCMP endorses,” the statement said.

The next step for the patch debate could be the Nunavut legislature.

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