A new report made public Wednesday evening suggests there could be systemic racism in Quebec’s police force when it comes to First Nations.
The report looks into the sexual assault investigations of multiple Sûreté du Québec (SQ) officers in Val-d’Or, Que., and was written by Fannie Lafontaine, a government-appointed, independent observer.
Allegations were made against eight provincial police officers and a total of 38 charges were investigated. Lafontaine found the Montreal police investigators were honest and fair.
“Most of them trained in sexual assault cases. they dealt with the victims starting with the point of view that the victims were saying the truth. They acted with empathy and compassion,” said Lafontaine.
“These are serious questions and the best way to address them is through the national commission,” said Martin Coiteux, Quebec public security minister.
Lafontaine’s role was to ensure the investigation conducted by Montreal police was impartial.
WATCH BELOW: Sexual assault accusations
The Crown attorney’s office is expected to officially announce Friday that no charges will be laid.
Lafontaine said the investigation was fair, but what she concluded in her report pointed to a much larger problem.
“Without such recognition of systemic racism, the judicial system practices a type of objectivity that perpetuates an unequal social order that police services are formed to maintain,” it states.
“The distrust between Indigenous peoples,and the police and the number of allegations, the type of patterns we see being repeated, like starlight tours, and abuse of power, all of this needs to be looked at in a broader perspective,” she explained Thursday afternoon.
Quebec First Nations Affairs Minister Geoffrey Kelley said serious questions had already been raised.
“The best way to address them is through the national commission,” he said, adding that other measures would be announced in the following days and weeks.
Kelley did not not elaborate on what those measures might be.