Thunder Bay police rejects First Nation leaders’ call for RCMP probe of river deaths

APTN National News
The acting chief of the beleaguered Thunder Bay police force rejected a call from First Nation leaders for the RCMP to step in and investigate three waterway deaths in the city.

Thunder Bay police acting Chief Sylvie Hauth said during a press conference Wednesday that she did not believe it to be “practical” or “necessary” to call in the Mounties.

The Ontario government has said only Hauth, as acting police chief, has the power to call in the RCMP.

Hauth became acting chief after the Ontario Provincial Police charged Thunder Bay police Chief J.P. Levesque with obstruction of justice and breach of trust after he allegedly disclosed confidential information about the city’s mayor Keith Hobbs.

First Nation leaders have said the local Indigenous community has no confidence in the Thunder Bay police or the OPP to investigate the deaths of Indigenous people.

Nishnawbe Aski Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler, Grand Council Treaty 3 Ogichidaa Francis Kavanaugh and Rainy River First Nations Chief Jim Leonard last week called on the RCMP to investigate the deaths of: Tammy Keeash, 17, who was living in a group home and found dead in the Neebing-McIntyre Floodway on May 7; Josiah Begg, 14, who was found dead in the McIntyre River on May 18; and Stacy DeBungee, who was found dead in the McIntyre River on Oct. 19, 2015.

The chiefs could not be immediately reached for comment.

Hauth said the OPP completed a review of how the city police handled the DeBungee investigation on May 15. The Thunder Bay police said earlier Wednesday there were no plans to release the report.

The Thunder Bay police botched the handling of DeBungee’s death investigation, according to private investigator David Perry, a former senior Toronto homicide detective. Thunder Bay detectives shut the file on DeBungee, declaring it to be accidental, before the conclusion of an autopsy examination.

Perry discovered DeBungee’s debit card was used after his death and that his identification cards were strewn on the river bank near where he was found mixed in with the identification material of another individual who has not yet been found.

Hauth said the OPP review now also extends to the Keeash and Begg deaths.

Serious questions still remain around the deaths of three of seven First Nation youth who were the subject of a coroner’s inquest which ended in June 2016. Five of the seven youth died in Thunder Bay’s waterways and three of those deaths were found to be “undetermined” by the coroner’s jury.

Perry told APTN it’s highly possible foul play may be behind some of these river deaths.

The Thunder Bay police now says it is investigating whether Indigenous youth are being targeted.


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15 thoughts on “Thunder Bay police rejects First Nation leaders’ call for RCMP probe of river deaths

  1. Allen says:

    I feel that if it rests on the acting police chief to decide if the rcmp can become involved its no different than asking donald trump to lose money.

  2. Our leaders won’t stop. When we need to stand together we always do and we won’t rest until this is looked into. Corruption is rampid in Thunder Bay.

  3. There are good cops and more in the grey area, and those are the ones to be afraid of. The new acting chief Sylvia Hauth seem to be following the footsteps of the police chief that got charged with obstruction and leaking confidential information. She strikes me as another “YES PERSON” Being a woman I suppose she has to play the game to be in with the boys. I have worked with both genders and both admit being treated rough and sometimes beaten and are afraid to say anything because these are police and they are using their power to scare and intimidate a them. I have experience the “power over” they use to put “us” in place. Needless to say not all police men are in that grey are. Thank God and Bless the ones that are doing a great job. Now for the chiefs, they should all stop “Flapping there Jaws” and stop point their fingers at the police and start examining what they are not doing. I know personally that there are crooked chiefs as well and treat their own people to discriminate them to fill their own pockets. Most people are afraid to say anything in fear of repercussion, So the chiefs are not blameless either so “BAND” together and hire and outside team to investigate all these cases that police have blundered. Do something, just don’t sit there and flap your jaws.

    1. Yes Nancy Perkins, there are a lot of crooked people in Canada and of course of all races, no denying that.How’s this one for example…Mulcair has 4 mortgaged properties, so he has to live in a gov’t paid suite, so as to cut costs. The main topic is murder and inhumane behavior towards Native people. The cops and other legal a$$holes get away with it. Oh and by the natives “we are hated for getting so called “freebies” perhaps it’s being murdered??? Some of us have had to take out student loans because our ancestors did not sign treaties.. which the gov’t reneged on anyway…

  4. straight talk
    The whole troop from thunder bay should quit because it is becoming more evident the police in charge now are at there racist best. As police u should be able to solve 1 case but no u say they drowned, wake up police you are a bunch of sicko’s.

  5. They probably think they can treat us the way the priests and nuns treated out ancestors. Smhhh

  6. What a crock. Total cover up from the Chief, all the way down. I think that someone knows something and the mask may drop real soon.

    1. I agree, but not the way you think. Racism is rampant. Unfortunately, race is the first excuse, sex the second and financial class the third. Few want to admit wrongdoing, especially in today’s climate. If it’s murder, remove them from society, because they will have an excuse, “cause I’m(fill in the blank anywhere in the world) my mom’s a drunk, my dad walked out on us, I was in reform school. You picking on me because I’m Black, Asian, Native, Irish, Italian, Romanian, American, French, Polish. You said that because I’m a Woman, Man, Gay, Transgender, Transvestite, Lesbian. I’m getting a raw deal because I’m on welfare, only middle class. He didn’t go to jail because he was “affluent”, his parents are connected.

      These are all tactics to avoid taking responsibility for our actions or lack of. Society is evolving into an “I’m entitled” entity. You have an opportunity, but what you do with it is more important. My mother was jokingly called the “token Indian” at her job, she may not have let on but I know It hurt her. She did her job well, and she could be proud of her career. She faced racism, but it wasn’t her reason for success. If she made a mistake she owned it, didn’t say because of her race, sex or financial status. Then she fixed it, made it better and stood tall by her accomplishments, not by blaming others.

      Judge actual facts, not opinions or second-hand gossip. Beliefs are not facts, they may be based on fact but are not.

      To the Ignorant racists out there, prove them wrong by your actions.

      1. Were you ever get picked on because you’re white? Do you have to live everyday with that over your head “wonder what kind of hatred I’ll see today”?

      2. How does that help a family get there dead kid back? You shaming shameful person. Very heartless.

    2. the people that live in and around T Bay know that the Thunder Bay police are on the take of organized crime,and we all know what crime family runs T Bay. Dont want to type much more for fear of being “whacked”! forget about it…

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