First Nations leaders want to know why an Indigenous woman was shot by police in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu (Port Albion) over the weekend.
The incident happened Saturday afternoon when Ucluelet RCMP was called to a report of a disturbance and a male needing medical assistance at a residence on Albert Road.
The Independent Investigations Office, which investigates police-involved incidents resulting in serious injury or death, says officers found the injured man and a woman inside the home.
“There was an interaction between the police and the woman,” said Ron MacDonald, the IIO chief civilian director. “The police reported that she had a weapon and there were shots fired by police and the woman was struck by those shots.”
She was hit by multiple bullets and flown to Victoria General Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. CHEK News has been told her condition had improved Monday.
The IIO is now probing what happened. Meanwhile, First Nations leaders like that of Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council want answers.
“Are Nuu-chah-nulth people under attack by RCMP? Was this another racist incident? What is going on?” said NTC President Judith Sayers. “All those questions go through your mind when you hear about things like this.”
“It’s just been too much, too many,” said Sayers. “Two months ago we had another shooting on the Optitsaht reserve in the Tofino area.”
That’s when 28-year-old Joseph Jones was shot dead by a Tofino RCMP officer after getting a call for help from a woman. And last June another Nuu-chah-nulth woman, 26-year-old Chantel Moore who had moved to New Brunswick was fatally shot by Edmunston City Police during a welfare check.
“This has become an epidemic, 3 shootings to us is an epidemic,” said Sayers. “We call on Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki, BC Solicitor Mike Farnworth to work with us to immediately revamp police officer’s de-escalation training, increase their cultural training and address racism so there are no more shootings of Nuu-chah-nulth people.”
“We cannot afford another loss in our communities at the hands of RCMP officers. While we are working with RCMP to try and resolve these issues, we must act quicker and ensure the cooperation of the RCMP to make changes,” she added.