Assembly of First Nations
National Chief Perry Bellegarde of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) demanded a full investigation into Thursday's police-involved shooting of a young First Nations mother in Edmundston, New Brunwick. News reports said Chantel Moore was in distress when she was confronted and shot by police, allegedly five times. National Chief Bellegarde said the shooting must be investigated by an impartial third party to determine why lethal force was used and whether race was a factor in the police officers' response.
"How does a call for help turn into a call for the coroner? This should never happen," Bellegarde said. "We need to find out whether race played any role in the police response and whether a less extreme use of force should have been used. This young First Nations mother and daughter did not need to die. The killing of our people by those who have a duty to protect and serve has to stop."
"My heart goes out to Chantel's family, friends and the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation. We should all be concerned that a wellness check resulted in the death of someone so young and full of potential. This type of thing happens far too often in this country and it needs to change."
National Chief Bellegarde said the Assembly of First Nations is calling for an immediate investigation into the circumstances, decisions, policies and processes that led to Ms. Moore's death. New Brunswick, and all governments, should consider whether an armed response without proper social supports and training is ever the correct response for a "wellness check."
From the B.C. Missing Women's Report to the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry in Manitoba to the Viens Commission Report in Quebec and the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenious Women and Girls, study after study has exposed the existence of systemic racism against First Nations within police forces and the legal system. Governments and police forces across the country need to take immediate action to review their practices and take the necessary steps to rebuild their relationships with First Nations. They must be accountable to the First Nations people they serve.
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow the Assembly of First Nations on Twitter @AFN_Updates.