The brother of an Indigenous woman shot dead by police during a welfare check in New Brunswick has also died during an interaction with the justice system.
Michael Martin, 23, from B.C. was the younger brother of Chantel Moore, who was killed by police in Edmundston, N.B., in June — kicking off a national wave of protest.
Martin took his own life on Nov. 14 at the Surrey Pretrial Centre, according to a media release from the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council.
The council says Martin’s family is awaiting the results of an internal investigation, but released a statement from his mother Martha Martin.
“The justice system is failing our children,” she said. “This is just too hard to go through.
“We cannot be silent and let this go by, unnoticed. There must be immediate changes to the justice system, we need justice for Chantel and her brother Mike.”
BC Corrections confirmed Martin’s death, and said it was investigating.
“Any death in custody is a tragedy and our thoughts are with this individual’s family and friends at this time,” said a spokesperson in an email.
“Privacy restrictions prevent the release of additional details regarding this matter.”
The BC Coroners Service is also investigating.
According to the council, Martin was deeply disturbed by his sister’s death, and was having trouble dealing with trauma from the shooting.
Chantel’s death at the hands of police contributed directly to Martin’s death six months later, said Nu-chah-nulth Tribal Council President Judith Sayers in a statement.
“The harsh realities of violence like the shooting of Chantel is not easy to deal with,” she said.
“We need to eradicate systemic racism in the justice system that will prevent the compounding effects of one tragic event that insidiously touches many lives.”
According to the council, Martin had become an advocate for the homeless after being unhoused for a time himself.
The family hosted hosting a meal for the homeless in his honour at Roger Creek Park in Port Alberni on Saturday, and distributed winter clothing and blankets.
If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 9-1-1 for immediate help.
The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, Depression Hurts and Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868 all offer ways of getting help if you, or someone you know, may be suffering from mental health issues.