Police oversight needs Indigenous input says Chantel Moore’s family

Family has not heard from Bill Blair’s office.

The great uncle of Chantel Moore and chief of Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation says the minister of Public Safety is ignoring his messages in calling for Indigenous oversight into the killing of his niece.

“I’d love to get some answers as to what’s going on because you know we hear nothing, not a peep out of any actions, if there is any action or investigations going on,” Moses Martin told APTN News.

Chantel Moore, 26, was shot and killed on June 4 by an Edmundston police officer who was conducting a wellness check at the request of the family.

A little more than a week later, on June 12, Rodney Levi from Metepenagiag Mi’kmaq Nation in New Brunswick was shot and killed by an RCMP officer.

Martin said he’s skeptical there will be justice for his niece.

He said he’s frustrated with the lack of transparency from the Quebec Investigators, the Bureau des Enquêtes Indépendantes (BEI), who are in charge of both Moore and Levi’s cases.

Back in June Martin and a group of other chiefs and First Nation leaders sent a request to Public Safety Minister Bill Blair asking for a national inquiry into the killing of Moore.

They asked to have a say in the investigators and wanted Indigenous people involved.

Martin said he never heard back from Blair.

In an emailed statement to APTN, Blair said he agreed with Martin on the need for information.

“In situations such as these it is essential that there be timely, transparent and independent investigations in order to provide answers to the many difficult questions that people have,” the statement read.

Indigenous lawyer Pam Palmater says independent investigators are usually white, male, ex-police officers.

“The First Nation families in New Brunswick can’t really expect any kind of justice under the current system as its structured,” Palmater said.

She said that oversight committees should not use former police officers and that there are a lot of people with the skills to perform thorough investigations, such as lawyers, social workers and community leaders.

Independent investigators have stated that former officers are used due to their experience in policing.

Martin said if they have to be police officers then retired Indigenous officers should be used because they know the system and they know the culture.

“It makes sense to have them involved as part of the investigation,” Martin said.

In regards to Martin’s request to Blair for an inquest into Moore’s killing, Blair’s office skirted responsibility and told APTN in an email that neither Chantel Moore nor Rodney Levi’s investigations are federal jurisdiction.

The reason is that the RCMP officer who Rodney Levi was under contract with the province of New Brunswick, and the officer who killed Moore is a member of the municipal Edmonston police force.

APTN reached out to the BEI who is in charge of both Moore and Levi’s investigations.

They wouldn’t say how many people of colour were involved in the investigations but did say half of their investigators are former officers.

In the meantime, a coroner’s inquiry has been called for in the case of Rodney Levi.

Editor’s Note: The original story identified Moses Martin as Chantel Moore’s uncle when it should have read great uncle.

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