NWAC calls on police and politicians to end police violence against indigenous people

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Native Women’s Association of Canada Calls on Police and Politicians to Take Three Immediate Steps to End Police Violence Against Indigenous People

Ottawa, ON, June 23, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is calling upon ministers — federal, provincial and territorial — as well as police forces across Canada and the RCMP to take the first necessary steps to end the needless deaths and assaults of Indigenous women, men and gender-diverse people at the hands of Canadian police.

The recent police killings of Chantel Moore and Rodney Levi in New Brunswick, and the battering of Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam by RCMP officers in Alberta, have brought the issue to national attention.

The national organization is asking police and politicians to use this moment to implement measures that will prevent more lives from being lost.

NWAC President Lorraine Whitman has arranged to meet in July with RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki. In advance of that meeting, Ms. Whitman wrote today [Tuesday, June 23] to Commissioner Lucki and to provincial and federal Ministers responsible for policing [please find letter attached], to ask that they quickly implement three reforms which find their basis in the Calls for Justice of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Gender Diverse People. Those three reforms are:

  • all frontline police officers be equipped with body cameras;
  • “shoot-to-kill” orders be revised to make non-violent apprehension the imperative when suspects are not brandishing firearms, and to better train officers on how to de-escalate potentially dangerous situations; and
  • turn over some of the duties currently performed by police when called to deal with an Indigenous person who is suffering from a mental health issue to social workers, health professionals or elders (many others have called for this reform in recent days as well).

These reforms would be a starting point in ending the violence. Many more must follow.

NWAC is also asking the RCMP and other Canadian police forces to join NWAC in forming a task force that will rewrite the relationship between police and Indigenous women. “We want culturally appropriate protocols that will keep our women, girls and gender-diverse people safe, not just from street killers and other assailants who have targeted them as prey, but from the police themselves,” Ms. Whitman added.

Attachment: NWAC Final Commissioner Letter