The family of a man at the heart of a controversial violent arrest alleges Regina’s police chief provided an inaccurate account of the incident.
On Dec. 13, 2019, a video circulating online showed Regina police officers chasing down Rocky Lonechild and taking him into custody using force.
Family spokesperson Carmel Crowchild disputes the Regina Police Service Chief Evan Bray’s summary of the incident.
“Evan Bray, acting as our city chief of police, stood by his officers and distracted the public from the facts and had no remorse when speaking of a carload of innocent Indigenous people,” Crowchild said at a press conference Monday.
“Instant public response drew comments on social media with racial tones and disgruntled public looking down on Indigenous suspects.”
Bray told Global News in December that officers were responding to a weapons offence call at a house in North Central.
“We knew there was five males in a car, there was at least one weapon that was seen present,” Bray said. “We did a vehicle stop of that vehicle, ultimately arrested four from the vehicle and one person fled.
“We also had information that the person who fled from the vehicle was under the influence of drugs.”
Bray admits they didn’t locate a firearm in the vehicle or on those arrested.
“Obviously you see in the video our officers catch up with the individual and make the arrest. In doing so, force was used.”
Crowchild, however, describes the events from that night much differently.
Crowchild said there were two females and three males inside the vehicle and they had not been involved in criminal activity.
Jessica Ashdohonk said at the press conference that she had been one of the women in the vehicle.
She said her father owned it and that they had been helping with a move.
When stopped by police, Ashdohonk claims she overheard officers say the suspect vehicle was white. She said the vehicle she and her friends were driving was blue.
Addressing Bray, who was not present at the press conference, Crowchild said: “Your statements now have harmed the innocent Indigenous people that were part of the traffic stop.”
Lonechild was wanted by police on other charges and ran, according to Ashdohonk.
That’s when the violent arrest occurred.
Ashdohonk said that once they had Lonechild in custody, an ambulance needed to be called.
Lonechild had surgery that night, according to his family, having suffered broken ribs and a collapsed lung.
Lonechild is currently incarcerated. His cousin, Terrance Lonechild, read a statement from him in which he says: “why the cops stopped us and we just came from an armed robbery when that was not true.”
“I also would like to know why cop felt the need to drop his or her full body weight on my ribs when the two cops already had both my arms and I was not fighting back at all.”
Crowchild filed a complaint with Saskatchewan’s Public Complaints Commission, which oversees municipal police forces across the province.
Bray said reports by officers that night were submitted as part of the investigation.