The mother of an Indigenous woman killed by an Edmundston Police Force officer during a wellness check last year says she’s “disappointed, but not surprised” that the officer won’t face charges.
Supporters of Chantel Moore gathered at the New Brunswick legislature Tuesday morning for a peaceful protest after Public Prosecution Services said it would not seek charges against the officer, a use of force instructor who shot Moore four times in the early hours of June 4, 2020.
According to the review of the case, Moore had cornered the officer on her third-floor balcony while holding a “small steak knife.” The officer told her to drop the knife in French and shot her when she didn’t.
The cause of death for the 26-year-old mother from Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation in British Columbia “was found to be extensive injuries to the internal organs caused by gunshot wounds to the chest and abdomen,” according to her autopsy.
Moore’s family has previously said that the circumstances did not warrant her being shot multiple times.
‘She’s not here to defend herself’
Speaking with reporters outside the legislature, Martha Martin, Moore’s mother, said she was “rolling through the emotions” after the news came out Monday.
“Like, how do you process that? Because my daughter is never gonna have another moment with her daughter. We’re not having any of those moments ever back,” she said.
“I have a little granddaughter who’s absolutely petrified if she sees a cop car, if she sees anything that looks like a uniform. So how do we make changes to make that little girl feel safe?”
She said there needs to be more accountability for the police and named some of the other Indigenous people who have died at the hands of law enforcement, including Rodney Levi, who was killed just over a week after Moore.
Martin also said the current information that’s been made available about Moore’s death has been one-sided.
“I feel like because she’s not here to defend herself, we only have half of a story,” she said. “It’s not a full story because she’s not here to defend it. She’s not here to say her truth. And that’s where we’re going to step in and continue being her voice.”
Officer on administrative duty
In a statement, Edmundston Police Force chief Alain Lang said he respects the public prosecution’s decision not to pursue charges and will work with the authorities in upcoming proceedings, including the coroner’s inquest and the New Brunswick Police Commission inquiry.
The officer remains assigned to administrative duties until those proceedings conclude.
“The use of force in an intervention is not something we take lightly. Our members undergo rigorous training in order to respond to difficult circumstances,” he said in the statement.
T.J. Burke, the lawyer for the family, says a wrongful death suit will be filed against the city of Edmundston in the coming days for the Estate of Chantel Moore.
– with files from Silas Brown