First Nations on either side of Canada are calling for immediate action in response to the death of a 26-year-old Indigenous woman in Edmundston, N.B., in a police shooting on Thursday.
In a press release, the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council in British Columbia said it sends its deepest condolences to the family and community of Chantel Moore, a member of the Tla-o-qui-aht, who died as police carried out a wellness check.
“Our deepest and sincerest prayers of strength and love are sent to everyone who is grieving this heartbreaking loss,” the release reads.
The tribal council describes the shooting of Moore as “senseless” and asks for an independent investigation into the incident in order to provide her family with answers.
“Justice must not wait and every power must be exerted to ensure that justice is served in an appropriate, immediate, and respectful way,” said Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council.
On Friday, the Wolastoqey Nation in New Brunswick issued a statement of their own.
They offered their condolences and sympathy to Moore’s family as the death occurred on the traditional and unceded land of the First Nation.
“Canada has a long and tragic history of violence and unequal legal treatment towards Indigenous people, and particularly towards Indigenous women and girls,” the statement read.
The Wolastoqey Nation said unequal legal treatment was recently shown in the hit-and-run death of Brady Francis, an Indigenous man.
Brady Francis, 22, died after he was hit by a vehicle while walking along a road in Saint Charles, N.B., in February 2018.
In April, Maurice Johnson was acquitted of the charge of failing to stop at the scene of a collision causing death.
The Crown has since decided to not appeal the decision.
The Wolastoqey Nation demanded the provincial government immediately establish a committee to review the New Brunswick justice system.
The committee would make recommendations on how the province can effect change to allow “for a system free of systemic discrimination and that no longer fails to serve the Indigenous people of this province,” the Wolastoqey Nation wrote.
The nation said they would write to the province’s minister of justice and minister of public safety to make the request.
Moore was shot and killed by police as the Edmundston Police Force responded to a request for a wellness check.
Nora Martin, Moore’s aunt, told Global News that her niece’s boyfriend called the police because somebody was harassing her and she felt scared.
Martin told Global News that Moore had moved in only a few days prior, and police had to get the new address from Moore’s mother, Martha.
“A couple hours later, they went back to Martha’s place and told Martha that Chantel had attacked the cop with a knife and he shot her five times,” Martin said.
Police said that the responding officer was charged by Moore, who was holding a knife, as soon as the door to the apartment opened.
The officer fired their weapon and although efforts were made to resuscitate the woman, she was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
Moore had only recently moved to Edmundston, a small town located 275 kilometres north of Fredericton, from Port Alberni, B.C.
She leaves behind a young daughter.
Nova Scotia’s independent police watchdog, the Serious Incident Response Team (SiRT), turned down a request to investigate the shooting.
Instead, Quebec’s Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes (BEI) will lead the investigation.
The independent police watchdog is responsible for investigating all cases where a person — other than a serving police officer — dies or is injured by a firearm used by an on-duty officer.
–With files from Srushti Gangdev and Cami Kepke