Indigenous community demands probe of N.B. justice system following death of Chantel Moore
DIEPPE, N.B. -- The death of Chantel Moore, a 26-year-old Indigenous woman who was fatally shot by police in an apartment building in Edmundston, N.B., has sparked outrage nationwide – much more so in her family.
"My family is going through a different stage right now," says family member, Nora Martin. "I think the shock and disbelief has worn off, and now we're at a different stage – there's a lot of sadness, a lot of quietness."
The tragic event has prompted the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples and its provincial-territorial organization in New Brunswick to call for a public investigation into Moore's death. The organizations are also demanding an investigation into what they call the ongoing systemic bias and racism that policing services and the justice system displays towards Indigenous peoples.
"The Aboriginal community is not impressed with the doings of the police," says New Brunswick Aboriginal Peoples Council president, Chief Barry Labillois. "We felt an outside force should be looking after it, but also an Indigenous aspect to it as well – to make sure that justice is being served."
Moore's family is still trying to piece together the final moments of her life – when an Edmundston police officer went to her home to conduct a wellness check. Police allege Moore was shot after she threatened the officer with a knife.
"I think, too often, our people have been pushed around and not really valued and treated in a good way," says Martin.
Indigenous leaders say they have several outstanding questions concerning restricted information that need to be answered, specifically from the officer involved – who is now suspended.
"The training that is being provided to these police officers, how does it happen in a way that it did?" says Assembly of First Nations regional Chief Roger Augustine. "A lot of questions, a lot of questions. The fact that she was shot five times – that is unheard of."
The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples is requesting that the government create a committee to review the justice system in New Brunswick.
"If those with mental illness, or whatever, need help, we should have the resources to do it," says Labillois. "In regards to Chantel, if the officer felt that there was a need, he could have tased her – we could've got help for her."
Meanwhile, the call for an independent probe into the death of the young First Nations woman continues.
As for Moore's extended family, who don't live in New Brunswick, they say they will be flying to the province to offer support for Moore's mother and daughter – and to plan Moore's funeral, which will be held in Edmundston.