The National Police Foundation (NPF) is speaking out about the recent officer-involved shooting in Campbell River.
While extending condolences to those close to the man killed, foundation president Brian Sauvé suggested the man’s own actions led to his death.
Jared Lowndes, an Indigenous man in his late 30s, was cornered on July 8th by RCMP at the Tim Hortons in Willow Point, after fleeing a traffic stop. The incident then escalated and he was shot by police.
In a statement, Sauvé says, “If Mr. Lowndes had not, however, evaded police, stabbed [police service dog] Gator and injured an RCMP officer, and instead turned himself into the Courts to comply with a Warrant for weapons offenses, he could be alive today.”
According to Sauvé, use-of-force is ‘exceedingly rare’. He says the RCMP responds to an average of nearly three million calls for service each year, with less than 1/10th of 1% (0.1%) resulting in any use-of-force.
Last week, Fay Blaney, the aunt of Lowndes’ daughters, told My Campbell River Now she felt the situation could have been handled differently, without lethal force.
And the First Nations Leadership Council (FNLC) says it’s ‘outraged’, calling for justice, accountability, an inquest, and a higher level of oversight in the aftermath of Lowndes’ death.
“The incident, which saw no attempt at de-escalation from the RCMP, left the 38-year-old father dead, his family seeking answers, and a community divided, as racist, hateful sentiments begin to rise,” reads a July 13th FNLC release.
Policing in Canada is highly regulated, Sauvé says, with strong internal and independent oversight. He says the NPF is in full support of the Independent Investigation Office’s ongoing investigation into the incident, adding it’s ‘critically important’ their review is conducted without speculation and supposition regarding the outcome, free from undue or inappropriate external influence.
The National Police Foundation represents around 20,000 RCMP members across the globe and is credited as the largest police labour relations organization in Canada.