RCMP Cruiser (Vista Radio stock image)
“This has become an epidemic,” Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council says.
Following last week’s shooting on Ucluelet First Nation, Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council is calling for the RCMP to change their ways.
The Council is “shocked and appalled” that another Nuu-chah-nulth person was shot by RCMP. They say it happened “so soon after the last shooting, just two months ago.”
Last Saturday (May 8th) at around 5:15 pm, Ucluelet RCMP was called to a home in the 600-block of Albert Road after receiving a report of a disturbance and a man in need of medical attention.
When officers arrived, the man and a woman were located, and the woman was found reportedly in possession of a weapon. Police fired shots, and she suffered serious gunshot injuries. Both the man and woman were sent to hospital.
READ MORE: Woman suffers ‘serious gunshot injuries’ after being shot by police near Ucluelet
In a Wednesday update, the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) of BC says no conclusions have been drawn, and inquiries into what role the weapon may have played in the incident are ongoing.
The IIO says it will continue to work in consultation with the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council and local community leaders to conduct a fair, thorough, and timely investigation. It says the facts of what took place will be made public as soon as practicable.
At this time, the IIO says the woman who was shot is still in hospital with serious injuries and remains in serious condition.
The 14 Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations are divided into three regions – Southern, Central, and Northern – with around 10,000 members.
The Council says Central-based Tla-o-qui-aht has now had three members shot by police over the past 11 months, two fatally.
“This is unjustifiable,” they say. “Chantel Moore was shot by Edmundston City police. Within the last two months, Joseph Jones was shot and killed on the Opitsaht reserve… and now this shooting.”
Vice President of the Nuu-chah-nulth, Mariah Charleson, says the impact of these shootings is devastating.
“People are horrified after hearing gunshots fired in their communities, a place we all have the right to feel safe,” she says.
According to the Council, “this has become an epidemic.”
“Three shootings to us is an epidemic,” President Judith Sayers explains.
With this in mind, Sayers says the Council is now calling on Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, RCMP Commissioner Brena Lucki, and BC Solicitor General Mike Farnworth to work with them to “immediately revamp police officers de-escalation training, increase their cultural training, and address racism so there are no more shootings of Nuu-chah-nulth people.”
And while Province has said there are issues that need to be addressed, Chek News reports that Farnworth hasn’t committed to a timeline.
“We cannot afford another loss in our communities at the hands of RCMP officers,” Sayers says. “While we are working with RCMP to try and resolve these issues, we must act quicker and ensure the cooperation of the RCMP to make changes.”
While Nuu-chah-nulth Council doesn’t know the full extent or circumstances in which the RCMP officer shot their Nation member near Ucluelet, they were told she had a weapon; however, they feel “this is not an excuse.”
“We do not know if she was a danger to the officer, or if the officer reacted out of fear, panic, or out of racism,” they say. “We do know, however, there are many alternatives to de-escalate situations that do not require a person to be shot multiple times.”
The Council also notes the instances where armed non-First Nations causing harm to others, or infrastructure, “are arrested without incident.”
“We ask that our people receive the same humane treatment that the rest of society receives, and that the violence and harm stop,” they add.