RCMP charge man in connection with hit and run death of Mi’kmaq youth Brady Francis
New Brunswick RCMP charged a 56-year-old man in the connection with the hit and run death of a 22-year-old man from the Elsipogtog First Nation in February.
Maurice Johnson of Saint-Charles, N.B., has been charged with failing to stop at the scene of an accident involving bodily harm or death.
Brady Francis was hit by a pickup truck on Feb. 24 as he departed a party in Saint-Charles, N.B., a predominantly francophone town about 12 kilometres south of the Elsipogtog reserve.
RCMP say that at approximately 9:30 p.m., officers responded to Saint-Charles Sud Road where the body of Francis was found on the side of the road.
Police believe he was waiting for a drive home when he was struck by a vehicle.
WATCH: Pressure mounts as Elsipogtog First Nation residents call for #justiceforbrady
The news was welcomed with relief in the community.
“We’re extremely happy,” said Ruth Levi, a band councillor and director of social services at the Elsipogtog reserve.
“The investigation is over. It was long but it shows that Brady’s case was not put on the back burner which a lot of people though was happening.”
Many Elsipogtog residents had called for criminal charges in the case, and alluded to Aboriginal anger at the jury acquittals in the killings of Colten Boushie and Tina Fontaine on the Prairies.
Social media posts were circulating following the incident with pictures of Boushie, Fontaine and Francis side by side, and many were tweeting #justiceforbrady, echoing hashtags used after the recent Prairie verdicts.
Said one Twitter user at the time: “All we can do is pray that Canada gets this one right.”
But Levi said Wednesday residents now believe the healing can begin.
“The RCMP did a great job in their investigation. Many times we thought nothing was happening because it was so long, a hundred and some-odd days, but today is a good day with lots of emotion,” she said.
Johnson is scheduled to appear in Moncton Provincial Court on July 10.
With files from The Canadian Press
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.