(Lheidli T’enneh First Nation and Wendake) - The jury in the coroner’s inquest into the fatal police shooting of Chantal Moore has ruled her death a homicide. The BC Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN) and Quebec and Labrador Regional (APNQL) Chief Ghislain Picard are calling for a total overhaul of policing across the country, starting with “wellness checks.”
“Police are ill-equipped to deal with mental health and addiction,” said BCAFN Regional Chief Terry Teegee. “Policing must change. If social services had been sent to perform the wellness check, rather than armed police, Chantal would still be alive today,” he continued.
The ruling in the coroner’s inquest into the fatal shooting of Chantal Moore can only bring justice if its recommendations are translated into action. The Edmundston Police Force, like so many forces across the country, has been negligent in allowing untrained police officers deal with “wellness checks.”
“First Nations across Canada continue to be overrepresented in prisons, in police shootings, and in charges brought by the Crown,” added APNQL Regional Chief Ghislain Picard. “Many of the police interactions that lead to imprisonment could have been dealt with by proper social services much earlier. The Crown needs to step up and properly fund First Nations to deliver services – including police services – to our own people,” he continued.
Chiefs in BC have mandated advocacy for change in policing at all levels. Next week the BCAFN is hosting a two-day forum on First Nations policing.
“We must see change that is led by First Nations,” continued Regional Chief Teegee. “We grieve with the Moore family over this senseless murder of yet another First Nations woman.”