‘Grieving in the dark’: Rodney Levi’s family seeks investigation report into shooting by RCMP

People walk to honour Rodney Levi in Red Bank, New Brunswick on Friday June 19, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Stephen MacGillivray.

FREDERICTON – The family of a New Brunswick man shot and killed by police last June is calling for the release of a report into his death.

Rodney Levi, who was from the Metepenagiag First Nation, was shot dead by the RCMP on the evening of June 12 in Miramichi, N.B., after police had responded to a complaint about a disturbance in a home.

Levi’s killing came days after an Edmundston, N.B., police officer shot and killed Chantel Moore, a 26-year-old Indigenous woman, during a wellness check.

Quebec’s police watchdog, known as the Bureau des enquetes independantes, was tasked with investigating the shooting because New Brunswick does not have a similar agency of its own. The watchdog says it forwarded its report to New Brunswick’s Public Prosecutions Services and to the coroner in the case, on Dec. 16.

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Read more: Quebec watchdog completes final report into RCMP-involved shooting death of Rodney Levi

Alisa Lombard, the lawyer for Levi’s family, says she can’t understand why the family has not been given a copy of the report into his death. “I can confirm we have requested the report and BEI confirmed they received our request. At this point we are in a waiting pattern,” Lombard said in an interview Friday.

“Our client – the estate of Rodney Levi – has been grieving pretty much in the dark insofar as their knowledge of what has happened has come from media reports and what they’ve been able to piece together,” she said.

“They’ve had no formal notice or indication of what happened on June 12, with the exception of the fact Rodney was shot by an RCMP officer and that he died from his injuries.”

The BEI released some details prior to Christmas when it announced the full report into Levi’s death had been sent to New Brunswick officials.

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On the evening of June 12, the watchdog said, police responded to two complaints about a man allegedly holding knives in a home in Miramichi, N.B., who did not want to co-operate.

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“Two police officers arrived to the scene and located the man on the terrace outside the residence, where other people were,” the watchdog said. “The man didn’t want to give up the knives and would not comply with the demands of the two officers.”

The watchdog said an officer used their electrical-pulse weapon on Levi but it failed to subdue him. Levi allegedly approached the other officer, “who fired on him,” the police oversight agency said. “The police began resuscitation manoeuvres until paramedics arrived, who transported the man to hospital, where he was declared dead.”

Lombard said it is critical the family receives answers so it can grieve.

A spokesperson for New Brunswick’s Department of Justice said Friday reports into the deaths of Levi and Moore are still under review. “Public Prosecution Services will make an announcement on the outcome of its work when its work is complete. It will have no further comment until that time,” Coreen Enos wrote in an email.

“It is worth remembering that Coroner’s Inquests will be held on the facts of each of these two cases,” she said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 8, 2021

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