New Brunswick’s Public Prosecutions Services says no criminal charges will be filed against the police officer who fatally shot Chantel Moore a year ago.
Moore, a 26-year-old Indigenous woman from the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation of Vancouver Island, was shot by a member of the Edmundston Police Force during a wellness check on June 4, 2020.
Moore had just recently moved to Edmondston from Vancouver Island to be closer to her mother Martha Martin and young daughter Gracie.
The prosecutor’s report says Moore’s ex-boyfriend called Edmundston police on June 4, after receiving concerning messages which indicated she thought someone was watching her sleep.
The officer sent to check on her told investigators when he arrived and knocked on her door, she came out of her apartment wordlessly with a knife in her left hand and cornered him on the apartment’s third-floor balcony.
The officer, a use of force instructor with the Edmundston police for two years, then fired four shots.
“He’s a large man, she’s a small woman. Why couldn’t he disarm her?” asked Dr. Judith Sayers, president of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council. “He did have some sort of baton or a stick so couldn’t he have used that to knock the knife out of her hand? There should have been no competition for her size against him.”
Quebec’s independent police watchdog, known as the Bureau des enquetes independantes, investigated the case because New Brunswick
does not have its own police oversight agency.
In a statement today, the prosecution office says the evidence showed the officer was responding to a potentially lethal threat and his actions were reasonable under the circumstances.
“It’s just so wrong. Police can go around shooting somebody four times, and it’s ok,” said Sayers. “Today there was no justice for Chantel.”
The report says the officer was equipped with pepper spray and a baton but didn’t use them, and the one taser in their police force wasn’t with him that night.
“I think there needs to clarity on this I think there needs to be further training so a police officer learns how to shoot just to disarm someone who may be carrying a knife for instance,” said Sayers.
On the one-year anniversary of Moore’s death, her mother said the family has been largely left in the dark regarding what happened the night she was fatally shot.
“Our whole family is still waiting on answers,” said Martha Martin. “And unfortunately, we’ll never have the full truth because we’re missing the other half of the story.”
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.
Sayers said her island community will continue to advocate for change.
“There have been three police shooting on Nuu-chah-nulth in the past year, and we just have to make changes in the policing system,” she said.
A coroner’s inquest into Chantel Moore’s death is set for Dec. 6.
With files from The Canadian Press