New Winnipeg community patrol group Morgan’s Warriors to work without police

Members of a new patrol group, Morgan’s Warriors, says they’re hoping to use their experience and the information they’ve learned through the trial of self-confessed serial killer Jeremy Skibicki to prevent more tragedies.

The group is named after Morgan Harris who is one of four known victims of Skibicki.

According to Melissa Robinson, the group will work without the help of Winnipeg police.

“We obviously do not have the best relationship with the Winnipeg Police nor do we have faith or trust in them,” says Melissa Robinson, cousin of Harris. “[The WPS] failed my cousin already, and they failed many other women.

“So, do we want that part of them being associated with us? No. I’m sure we can figure out things on our own.”

In early December 2022, police told the public they believed the remains of Harris, 39, and Marcedes Myran, 26, lay in the privately-owned Prairie Green landfill just north of Winnipeg. Police chief Danny Smyth said they wouldn’t search for the women citing health and safety hazards.

An uproar ensued across the Indigenous and non-Indigenous community alike and so began the search the landfill movement.

The partial remains of another victim, Rebecca Contois, 24, were found in garbage bins near Skibicki’s residence and later in the city-owned Brady Road landfill in May 2022. That discovery set course for Skibicki’s arrest.

Police haven’t been able to identify the remains of a fourth victim, given the name Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe, or Buffalo Woman, by Indigenous leaders.

All four women were accessing services at homeless shelters at the time before their deaths. Skibicki, 37, stalked them and later brought to his apartment in Winnipeg’s North Kildonan suburb where they were murdered between March and May 2022.

Robinson and Elle Harris, Morgan’s youngest daughter, along with other family members, say they’re now taking matters into their own hands to fill in the cracks in the system.

“When I look at things as a whole, you know, over the last few weeks from the trial and hearing of some of the things my cousin had to endure – like being thrown out of a shelter at 1:50 a.m. in the morning,” says Robinson, a co-director for Morgan’s Warriors, “When she was missing, who was really out there doing that footwork?”

As the young Elle Harris finishes high school, her summer will prioritize honouring her mother’s memory by becoming a co-director for Morgan’s Warriors and leading street patrols to connect with other vulnerable Indigenous women without stable housing.

“When I go out there, and I see all these people sitting there and they have nowhere to go and I have a home to go, I have money that I could be putting back into the community,” says Elle, “I have the mental capacity to be doing so to help these people heal.”

Elle says the group’s grassroots approach gives them an advantage at gaining the trust of the people they will be working with, many who she says also do not trust police.

“They know we’re going in there just to look for a person or just to pick up used needles on the ground. They know they can trust us,” says Elle, “Otherwise, if we had the police with us, they would not go near the door. They would not go near us. They would walk away.”

Robinson says the Morgan’s Warriors will also assist other families in helping their loved ones by helping them find shelter space, accessing treatment if they’re battling addictions, and disposing of littered and used needles.

Robinson has years of experience doing community street patrols under her belt through her time with Winnipeg’s Bear Clan Patrol.

She says Morgan’s Warriors will be different from some other patrols in regards to the hours they operate and the fact that all board members and any paid positions will be reserved for Indigenous women, though she says anyone can volunteer.

“This type of work is a 24/7 type job,” she says, “This for us is about our women. You know, this isn’t a photo-op for us, to get out there, walk for a couple hours, take some pictures, hand out some food, and call it a day. Our work with this will never stop.”

They hope to begin patrols in June, and just received confirmation this week that their name is now registered as a non-profit.

Robinson says all that’s left to do is finalize fine details, secure some funding, and get pink hi-visibility vests for the crew as it is a “friendlier colour”.

She says they have already been receiving support from other organizations in the city, like two-way radios donated by Mama Bear Clan, and are “eternally grateful” for any help they get.

“It’s time we turn our grief into action,” says Robinson.

Contribute Button