A Vancouver Island First Nation is calling for action on the sombre anniversary of Chantel Moore being shot and killed by police during a wellness check in New Brunswick.
“Our whole family is still waiting on answers,” said Martha Martin, Moore’s mother. “And unfortunately, we’ll never have the full truth because we’re missing the other half of the story.”
Nuu-chah-nulth woman Moore, 26, was shot by a member of the Edmundston Police Force during a wellness check on June 4, 2020, after police say the young woman allegedly approached an officer with a knife in her hand. She was shot at least five times.
“She also had a broken arm and a broken leg. How on earth did that happen for a wellness check?
” asked a family representative Joe Martin.
There remain many unanswered questions about the young woman’s death. An investigation by Quebec’s police watchdog, which investigated because New Brunswick does not have its own police oversight agency, has submitted its findings to the New Brunswick prosecutor’s office but has not announced a decision on any possible charges.
The family hasn’t been given access to that report or the coroner’s report on her death.
“This is just an injustice to me, that the family has had no information,” said Dr. Judith Sayers,
“The pain still hurts as much as it did the first day that I received the news that she had been shot and killed on June 4,” Moore‘s mother, Martha Martin, said in an interview with the Canadian Press this week. “It’s a memory that will never go away.”
Martin said she and her lawyer have a meeting Monday with the Crown, and she is hoping to finally learn more.
“On June 7 we’ll have a better idea if there will be any charges against the police officer that shot and killed my daughter,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council issued a statement on the one-year anniversary of Moore’s death, calling for concrete action instead of promises.
“The horror of Chantel Moore being shot multiple times by police in her own home has not been forgotten and we continue to seek Justice for Chantel,” the council wrote.
It noted that Friday also marked the two-year anniversary of the release of a report from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
“It is now two years since the anniversary of that report, and yesterday a draft action plan was issued on how the MMIWG report can be implemented,” the council said. “Reports and plans are words, but what we need is action now, on the ground, in our communities we live in, to prevent the senseless shootings of Indigenous peoples by police.”
The council said it submitted a list of requests to federal officials including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the days following Moore’s death, including:
- Put in place a task force to make recommendations on wellness checks
- Replace police with trauma-informed teams
- Implement a multi-pronged Indigenous de-escalation training
- Create a national Indigenous-led police oversight body
- Establish a national protocol for police investigations
- Redirect “public safety” funding to services that increase community safety
- Establish a national protocol for police engagement with Indigenous peoples
Nuu-chah-nulth president Judith Sayers said since then, nothing of consequence has been done.
“PM Trudeau, Minister Bill Blair, and Commissioner Lucki, what have you done in the past year since Chantel Moore was shot to death to prevent shooting of Indigenous people by police? Nuu-chah-nulth have suffered two more police shootings in this time, so we don’t see you have done anything to stop these shootings,” she said.
“Chantel Moore’s death was a tragedy and a great loss to her family and Nation, but the bigger tragedy is that there have been no positive changes to policing or consequences for police officers who have shot First nations people, and so our people continue to be shot by police.”
The council is again calling on governments at all levels to address systemic racism in the justice system and take “immediate measures” to prevent race and gender-based violence that it says is “too prevalent” in policing.
“There are many immediate solutions we asked for that were never implemented. These and the MMIWG recommendations are key to saving Indigenous lives,” the council wrote.
On Wednesday, the federal government tabled its response to the report on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
The $2-billion action plan intends to tackle the inequalities Indigenous people face when dealing with the justice system.
“To work with you to make sure your voices are heard and to end the violence and the abuse,” said Trudeau during the announcement.
The money will be earmarked to improve law enforcement training, revitalize Indigenous languages, transform the delivery of health care and designate Indigenous policing as an essential service.
With files from The Canadian Press, CHEK’s Kendall Hansen & Kori Sidaway.