As about 50 sign-waving supporters screamed “Justice for Jared” outside the Campbell River RCMP detachment Tuesday, Laura Holland, the mother of Jared Lowndes, encountered three officers in the lobby who had come out to meet her.
“You should be ashamed of yourselves, look at you,” she yelled at them. “Next time we’ll be so loud that Canada will never want to kill another indigenous person.”
The urn containing ashes of her son who was indigenous, of the Wet’suwet’en Nation’s Laksilyu (Small Frog) House, was placed on the ground outside the door of the detachment.
“They did the usual, you know, can we talk, I hear you, I understand you, I know what you mean and I said I don’t think you know what it means, I don’t think you understand how it feels to know that your son was shot in the face three times,” Holland later told reporters.
Her son, 38-year-old Jared Lowndes a father of two daughters was killed by police on July 8 in the drive-thru of a Tim Hortons in Willow Point.
They were attempting to arrest him when things went terribly wrong.
He was wanted on outstanding warrants, the details of which have not been confirmed and had been boxed-in by several police vehicles when there was a confrontation.
A police services dog was involved and was stabbed to death by Lowndes and its handler was also injured.
Witnesses told CHEK News the day of the shooting that police had told him to surrender numerous times before several shots rang out.
The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is now investigating the RCMP use of force that day, while many at Tuesday’s rally including Holland were calling for always-on body cameras and an end to the use of police dogs.
“We’re calling for accountability and oversight, to support the message that indigenous lives matter, not as a political statement but because we’re all human beings and we need to respect and honour the lives of indigenous people,” said Lydia Hwitsum of the First Nations Leadership Council of B.C.
According to the B.C. Civil Liberties Associations, an Indigenous person in Canada is 10 times more likely to have been shot and killed by a police officer in Canada than a Caucasian person. Indigenous people are 16 per cent of those killed by police, but only 4.2 per cent of the population.
Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs says that British Columbia, in particular, has the shameful distinction of the country’s highest rate of police-involved deaths and according to the B.C. Coroner’s Office, 20 per cent of those who died in encounters with police between 2013 and 2017 were Indigenous.
“I know that this death is going to make a huge change,” Holland told reporters. “I want them to remember the noise we made today the next time they try to kill an indigenous person.”
The family placed flowers at the memorial for the dead police services dog Gator.
“I think Jared’s reaction would be that he’s very proud of us. He is with our ancestors now and they are all watching us,” said Holland.
CHEK News reached out to the Campbell River Mayor’s office, the Island District RCMP and the National Police Federation for comment but was told no one was available.