Indigenous leaders call for transparency after police shooting death near Tofino

An RCMP vehicle is seen in this file photo. Global News / File

The leaders of Indigenous groups in British Columbia are asking for answers after a 28-year-old man was fatally shot by police in a community off the west coast of Vancouver Island over the weekend.

In a joint statement issued Monday, the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, Pacheedaht First Nation and the First Nations Leadership Council said they want an open and transparent investigation into the death of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation man.

The Independent Investigations Office, which investigates officer-related incidents that result in serious harm or death, has been called in.

“We are calling for a member of Nuu-chah-nulth to be involved directly in the investigation or to have oversight over the investigation,” Chief Don Tom, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, said.

“My understanding is the Independent Investigations Office is open to that and I hope that they do take that recommendation to have that Indigenous person be involved.”

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On Monday, the IIO confirmed that it will appoint an Indigenous civilian monitor in regards to the case.

RCMP said two officers from the Tofino detachment were called to a home on the Opitsaht reserve on nearby Meares Island to locate a woman in distress on Saturday night.

Mounties allege an unspecified “interaction” took place in which a man was shot and killed, while another was taken into custody.

The fatal shooting is the second death of a Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations person in a year.

Chantel Moore was fatally shot by a police officer in Edmunston, N.B. last year during a welfare check.

“Their hearts are broken. Many are worried, many are grieving and some are still not over the death of Chantel. For police to attend and an Indigenous person to be dead is sad,” Chief Tom said.

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