Two Prince Albert police officers will stay on the job after being called out for how they responded to a domestic assault incident that resulted in the death of an infant.
Police chief John Bergen said he’s waiting for the outcome of the public complaints commission investigation before deciding “whether discipline is appropriate and what discipline that would be.”
“As we work through and understand the shortcomings of the Prince Albert Police Service, we’re going to be in a better position to build back that trust that we’re committed to work towards,” Bergen said at a news conference on Wednesday.
Several First Nations leaders had called for their firing after the death of Tanner Brass, a 13 months old who was killed three weeks ago in the northern Saskatchewan town of Prince Albert.
According to police, a 911 call came in the morning of Feb. 10, in regard to a family dispute.
Kyla Frenchman, a member of the Thunderchild First Nation, was taken to the police station.
But just hours later, police responded to another call at the same address for the death of a child.
This time, Kaij Brass, the child’s father, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.
Chief Bobby Cameron of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations had called for the officers who responded to the call to be fired for ignoring Kyla’s concern about her child.
“When Kyla put the call in, it was clear she said ‘my baby’. They get to the residence and detain her, again, she said, ‘my baby’. In the cop car she said ‘my baby’ and in the cells, she said ‘my baby,'” Cameron said.
Prince Albert Grand Council Grand Chief Brian Hardlotte said everyone needs to ensure this never happens to another First Nations family again.
“I am troubled, very, very troubled on how this situation was handled,” said Hardlotte. “With all the support systems there, all the government support systems that are there, all the First Nations support systems that we have—that they didn’t follow policy-their policy.”
The First Nations leaders said there was no welfare check performed after Frenchman was taken from the home, nor was the Ministry of Social Services brought in for the baby’s protection.
They claimed during a news conference yesterday that the mother was ignored because she’s Indigenous.
The FSIN went further, calling for an inquest into Tanner Brass’s death, claiming gross negligence, and/or criminal negligence.
Frenchman was on hand at the news conference but was too distraught to address the media.
In a written statement, she said that “no mother should ever have to go through this. No mother should have to feel this pain.”
Bergen said the officers who responded had five years of experience between them.
As a result of the baby’s death, he said the service now has a dedicated inspector to oversee its patrol division and ensure the policy is followed.