(Vicki Monague filed complaint over RCMP’s handling of her criminal allegation of domestic violence against Onion Lake Cree Nation Chief Wallace Fox. Photo supplied by Monague.)
APTN National News
The RCMP is probing complaints filed against officers from the Onion Lake Cree Nation detachment over their handling of a domestic violence allegation against Chief Wallace Fox, APTN National News has learned.
Fox, the long-time chief of the Saskatchewan First Nation, was charged Monday with two counts of assault, one count of possession of a dangerous weapon and one count of uttering threats to damage property stemming from a domestic incident at his Onion Lake residence. He is scheduled to appear in provincial court on Dec. 16.
Toronto-based investigators with the RCMP Professional Standards Unit are also currently probing how the Onion Lake RCMP detachment handled the allegations against Fox.
The probe was triggered after the alleged victim filed a complaint with the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP.
The charges were laid nearly six months after Vicki Monague, who is from Beausoleil First Nation in Ontario, filed her criminal allegation against Fox with the RCMP detachment at Onion Lake.
A spokesperson for Fox said he would not be commenting on the charges because the matter is now before the courts.
Monague said she was informed by the Saskatchewan Crown last week that he had recommended charges against Fox. Still, she said she was “shocked” when Fox was finally charged.
“This has been going on now for nearly six months. We didn’t know how to feel about it. I think we are in kind of shock mode right now and we are starting to figure out what this actually means,” said Monague. “I think for me and my kids especially the hardest part has been the anxiety attacks and watching somebody that we know personally behind closed doors on the news, in media articles on social media being an advocate for murdered and missing Indigenous women.”
Monague said she filed her complaints against the detachment’s officers in Onion Lake because she felt they didn’t take her domestic violence allegations seriously. Monague said she was initially told by one officer at the Onion Lake detachment that she had to appear in person if she wanted to press any charges against Fox.
“I was fearful of my husband and left Onion Lake Cree Nation to return home,” said Monague, in her letter of complaint dated July 3. “I was also fearful that had I pressed charges, Wallace Fox, being the chief, would have interfered with those charges proceeding through political means.”
Staff Sgt. Paul Dickinson and a sergeant from the RCMP’s Professional Standards Unit interviewed Monague on Oct. 1 about her complaint against four RCMP officers, including three from the Onion Lake detachment and the staff-sergeant who originally handled her complaint against the detachment. The interview was held at the OPP detachment in Midland, Ont.
The Onion Lake detachment commander has already received “verbal operational guidance in the area of compassion when dealing with victims of crime” as a result of the complaints, according to a copy of a complaint intake document obtained by APTN.
Monague said she had been living with Fox since October 2014 and had been involved in a relationship with him since July of the same year. The alleged incident occurred at Fox’s residence on May 13, said Monague.
Monague said she filed her domestic violence allegations on May 18 after she arrived in Beausoleil First Nation, in Ontario, following a four-day drive from Saskatchewan.
Monague said she and her children, aged 11, 12 and 14, issued sworn statements before a commissioner of oaths on June 8 alleging domestic violence. Monague said she gave her statement at the Midland police detachment and her children issued their statements at the Anishinabek police detachment.
Monague said the statements were sent by Purolator Courier but were not picked up by Onion Lake RCMP until June 30, according to her letter of complaint.
“I have seen corruption within the Onion Lake RCMP and they have failed to protect me and my children,” she said. “But my main concern is, what about other women. How many other women could there be that came forward and the police refused to investigate. How many other women have they done this to?”