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Chief of B.C. First Nation will look over police watchdog’s report on fatal shooting

The RCMP logo is seen outside Royal Canadian Mounted Police "E" Division Headquarters, in Surrey, B.C., on April 13, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

An Indigenous civilian monitor has been appointed to look over a report by British Columbia’s police watchdog following the RCMP shooting death of a 28-year-old man last year.

Julian Jones was a member of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation on Vancouver Island and the Independent Investigations Office says in a news release that the nation’s chief, Thomas George, will receive unfettered access to all of its investigative materials.

The office said Jones was killed by officers after they responded to a report of a woman being held against her will on Meares Island, near Tofino.

Read more: ‘We are stuck’: B.C.’s civilian-led police watchdog reports staffing problems

This is the first time an Indigenous civilian monitor has been appointed in such a case, and the director of the Independent Investigations Office says it’s another step in building trust between his office and Indigenous Peoples.

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Ronald MacDonald says George’s final report will be made public when it is appropriate and in keeping with the office’s reporting practices. He says arriving at this point has been a lengthy process as the office did the work to develop a new agreement in identifying a civilian monitor.

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“I look forward to Chief George’s report at the conclusion of his review and commit to undertaking any additional considerations, evidence, or avenues of investigation he identifies through his valuable lived experience.”

The office is responsible for the independent civilian oversight of police in B.C. It probes all incidents involving officers that result in serious harm or death, no matter if there is any allegation of wrongdoing.

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