COLONIAL SECURITY FORCES : INDIGENOUS RESISTANCE
COLONIAL SECURITY FORCES: An Indigenous Analysis of the “Justice” System in occupied KKKanada
With the insurmountable Indigenous resistance to the 2010 Olympic games accelerating, many are becoming more and more aware of the mass peril the games will bring. Harriet Nahanee and other grassroots Indigenous people have been actively engaged in shutting the games down due to the already present destruction it has cost us. Indigenous lands are under attack as are our lives as billions of dollars are sunk into the construction of highways, ski resorts, tourist condos and accommodations, sports venues and transportation infrastructure (like the Canada Line). Meanwhile only a handful of sell-out Chiefs, politicians and corporate execs will reap the temporary benefits. The rest of us whom foresee the grim reality that VANOC will trail behind them, and whom are already witnessing and experiencing the effects of 2010, are uncovering the facts and taking action.
In the city, the Olympic lead up has already had an impact on Indigenous people. Harriet Nahanee’s death, caused by her poor treatment in a BC jail where she was imprisoned for protesting the expansion of the Sea to Sky Highway, signaled a call for action. When we fight to keep our Indigenous lands, to keep affordable housing and against homelessness, we are criminalized. With over $175 million being spent on security, there is no question we will be targets of state oppression more than we already are. It is no secret that the Olympics are linked with repressive laws. According to Maryanne Abbs, author of ‘Massacres and Profits: A Brief History of the Olympics’, “The games have been used as a convenient cover for permanent repressive laws and to create new police and military units. In Sydney there were four cops for each athlete at the Games for a total of 35,000 police and security guards, 4000 troops and elite commando units, and Black Hawk helicopters.”
In Vancouver the “eye in the sky” will include hundreds of security cameras, spy planes, intelligence agents, police and soldiers. This doesn’t mean we need to start fear mongering or start to “love the police” (WTF!), it means we need to start organizing, mobilizing, educating and taking action! The best place to start, is right here in your mind. Know your history; know your friends; know where you stand!
History: Setting the Racist & Sexist Stage
The introduction of the colonial “justice” system into Indigenous lands meant that a system of violent oppression was not only practiced but institutionalized and imposed on Indigenous people. Police forces were set up to enforce white colonial laws and to undermine and outlaw our Original Indigenous justice systems and laws. In 1873, the Northwest Mounted Police (later to become the Royal North West and then the Royal Canadian Mounted Police) was established to regulate settlement - making room for white settlers by forcing the Indigenous population off their land. Colonizers, whose main goal was to acquire Indigenous lands and resources in order to gain power to expand the global capitalist empire, relied heavily on KKKanadian police forces. Most importantly, they needed to remove Indigenous women, whom were often culturally responsible for land use and ownership, from their traditional roles, so that settler society could access the land more easily.
The NWMP’s members at this time were notorious for assaulting, abusing and raping Indigenous women and their children. These instances were clearly about abusing authority and undermining Indigenous women’s power. Members of the NWMP, in an effort to shift the blame and claim innocence, would institute racist, sexist stereotypes on Indigenous women through the media, public discourse and even policy. The vilification of Indigenous women at this time was built through fabrications about us as “immoral”. The Norwest Mounted Police’s crimes of rape, assault and abuse against Indigenous women could then be more easily justified and dismissed (if their victims could somehow be blamed for their brutality). The deceptions they cast about Indigenous women remain in many ways today and explain the way in which many Indigenous women are treated by white settler society and the general public (just look at the acts of Paul Jordon Gilbert, Robert Pickton and Judge Ramsay, to name just a few, to see how white men get away with murder and brutal violence against Indigenous women). The RCMP and the Vancouver Police Department continue to rape, abuse, assault and kill Indigenous people and get away with it because of their history of manipulating the “justice” system and the ideological framework of society, especially settler society whom they protect.
The white corporate media has always favored the perspective or manufacture of lies presented by the NWMP and the RCMP, and therefore the lies the police told transmitted to the general populace easily. The Macleod Gazeete, the Toronto Globe and the Globe and Mail have a history of promoting the NWMP and RCMP’s negative stereotypes of Indigenous women. These lies asserted that Indigenous people were subhuman and subject and deserving of foul treatment. The justification of police brutality therefore is nothing new but part of a long history of a program of assault launched on Indigenous people since the inception of colonization.
Sarah Carter. "Categories and Terrains of Exclusion: Constructing the ‘Indian Woman’ in the Early Settlement Area in Western Canada," Ken Coates and Robin Fisher, eds., Out of the Background: Readings in Canadian Native History, (Toronto: Copp Clarke, 1996): 177-195.
Bear, Shirley. “You Can’t Change the Indian Act”. Women & Social Change: Feminist Activism in Canada. Ed. Wine, Jeri D, Ristock, Janice L. Journal of Canadian Studies, Winter 1994.
Jamieson, Kathleen. "Sex discrimination and the Indian Act". Arduous Journey :Canadian Indians and Decolonization Ed. J.R. Pinting. Toronto : McClelland & Stewart, 1987.
Jamieson, Kathleen. "Indian Woman and the Law: Citizens Minus". Ottawa: Supply And Services, 1978.
Stevenson, Winona. “Colonialism and First Nations Women in Canada”.Canadian Anti-Racist Feminist Thought: Scratching the Surface of Racism. Ed. Enakshi Dua and Angela Robertson, 49-80. Toronto: Women's Press, 1999.
Current Reality of the "Justice" System
JUDGE DAVID RAMSAY
One Part of a Larger Systemic Problem.
The mainstream corporate media has recently brought into light the private trial of Judge Ramsay, the BC Supreme Court Judge who was charged with breech of trust, buying sex from a minor and sexual assault casing bodily harm. His victims, the majority Indigenous girls, were between the ages of 12 and 17. He was sentenced to 7 years in prison in 2004.
Ramsay is serving his sentence at the Dorchester Penitentiary in New Brunswick, far away from public scrutiny. And after community requests to have Ramsey’s trial moved to BC were denied, some of the families of his victims and community leaders made plans to attend the trial back east. But on September 06, 2007, it was announced that there would be no public parole hearing for Judge David Ramsay. Regardless, on September 13, 2007, he was denied parole.
Ramsay's statutory release date (mandatory reintegration into society) is Jan. 30, 2009, but his ability to survive that long is in question (he apparently has terminal cancer).
While some community leaders are claiming “victory” that the violent judge (who has shown no contrition for his crimes, and revulsion towards his victims) was put away for the time being, a quick look at some of the facts, will reveal some frightening realities about the abuse of power and levels of sexual exploitation and violence saturated in the entire “justice” system.
The RCMP began their investigation into Judge Ramsay’s assaults after a complaint launched by a young Indigenous woman in August 1999. However, Judge Ramsey was not removed from his duties on the Bench until the summer of 2002. According to media accounts, the crimes committed by Ramsay continued up until 2001; three years after the investigation began. But that’s not where the corruption ends.
In October 2001 eyewitnesses came forward with first-hand evidence that Indigenous children were (are) being used in west coast pedophile rings involving senior judges, politicians, church and aboriginal leaders. According to the “Canadian Holocaust” website, one of these pedophile networks operates out of the prestigious Vancouver Club. There have also been several accounts made by sexually exploited girls and women that the RCMP and the police are also involved in this type of organized and systemic sexual violence against Indigenous girls and women.
While some leaders promote turning a blind eye to the harsh reality that many of our sisters experience at the hands of the “justice” system, others are choosing to expose, educate and organize our communities to take action against systemic sexual violence. Most Indigenous people understand this type of systemic violence and brutality as part of the history and legacy of colonization. And most of us would content that action against this system needs to take place now.
The Police and RCMP have not all of the sudden become obsolete in their crimes against Indigenous women and girls. In fact the abuses they started at the time of colonization have continued just the same. In Prince George, serious allegation of rapes and other sexual violence by RCMP and police have been unveiled but then quickly covered up. Below is but one case of the sort.
CONSTABLE JUSTIN HARRIS
Many questions, few answers in RCMP case
White Corporate Media Account of Cops that Rape
GARY MASON, Globe and Mail, October 7, 2006
VANCOUVER -- Wally Oppal, the always loquacious Attorney-General of British Columbia, suddenly has a dry throat. He doesn't want to talk about the abrupt and shocking ending to a disciplinary hearing the RCMP initiated against one of its own officers.
The hearing was terminated when a three-member tribunal ruled the force contravened its own bylaws by not initiating disciplinary proceedings against Constable Justin Harris soon enough.
Constable Harris is alleged to have paid underage prostitutes to have sex with him, a charge the officer has denied.
I phoned Mr. Oppal's office to ask whether the minister felt an independent inquiry should be ordered into the matter. After all, a police officer's reputation is at stake. Everyone in the world now knows a prostitute has alleged Constable Harris hit her when she refused to perform oral sex because he wouldn't wear a condom. And that another prostitute described him as a "bad date," a term ladies of the evening ascribe to clients who are often drunk and aggressive.
In the past, Mr. Oppal has expressed his frustration with the province's lack of jurisdiction over the RCMP given that it pays the salaries of the officers working here. When it comes to the force, the Attorney-General has said, it's a federal responsibility.
That is not good enough here. The allegations against Constable Harris are extremely serious. And they are incidents alleged to have occurred under Mr. Oppal's watch as Attorney-General. If Mr. Oppal can't do anything himself, then he should publicly call for something to be done. He should urge Stockwell Day, the federal minister responsible for our national police force, to order an inquiry. Because heaven knows there are many questions to be answered.
A request to speak to Mr. Oppal about these matters was declined. Questions were referred to a spokesman in the Criminal Justice Branch. A request to speak with Bev Busson, Deputy Commissioner of the RCMP in B.C., was also denied. You see, while on paper the RCMP is answerable to Canadians through Parliament, in practice it is accountable to no one.
Our politicians are mostly afraid to question the actions of the force, or its leadership. But here are some of the questions they should be asking in the case of Constable Harris.
It is now known that in December of 2002, Assistant Commissioner Gary Bass, received a report that up to nine RCMP officers in Prince George, including Constable Harris, were being investigated for possible links to underage prostitutes. And yet it wouldn't be until June, 2004, that he thought to inform his superior, Bev Busson, of what was going on.
Huh? Nine officers are being investigated for possible links to underage prostitutes and the assistant commissioner doesn't think it's important enough to inform his boss? He also neglected to inform one of the officers within the proper time frame that he was facing a possible disciplinary hearing stemming from an investigation into his conduct. It was because of this oversight the disciplinary hearing was quashed.
Under the RCMP Act, a commanding officer must launch a disciplinary hearing within one year of becoming aware of an officer's misconduct. An initial disciplinary hearing against Constable Harris wasn't initiated until September of 2004, almost two years after Mr. Bass was first informed of the allegations against Constable Harris.
After that initial hearing, the constable was suspended with pay.
But in February of this year, the Federal Court of Appeal clarified when the one-year time limit on disciplinary hearings begins. A new disciplinary hearing against Constable Harris then commenced on Oct. 2, at which time his lawyer made clear he would argue the action against his client should be dropped because the Mounties waited too long to commence the hearing initially.
If that was the case, why did the tribunal hear any evidence before making its ruling that ended the hearing? Why didn't it deal with the matter at the outset, thereby preventing provocative and damaging testimony against the officer from being heard and published?
If Constable Harris is innocent of the accusations levelled against him, what recourse does the officer now have to clear his name? Why is there a one-year limit on the commencement of these hearings anyway? Especially given the notoriously slow pace at which the RCMP conducts investigations involving its own officers. Why is the RCMP allowed to investigate itself in the first place?
What does Giuliano Zaccardelli, the embattled commissioner of the RCMP, think of all this? Is he satisfied with the way this case was handled? Does he still have complete confidence in Mr. Bass? Does he intend to allow despicable allegations to forever hang over the head of one of his officers? If the answer is yes, does he think that's fair?
Does he think the one-year statute of limitations on disciplinary hearings is a good idea?
Why did the RCMP go ahead with the disciplinary hearing against Constable Harris when the B.C. Attorney-General's Department had earlier decided there was not enough evidence against the officer to lay criminal charges? Did the Criminal Justice Branch of the Ministry get it wrong?
So many questions. So few people willing to answer them.
Sources used and important resources to check:
Injustice Busters. “Justin Harris: Cop Without a Single Redeeming Quality” http://www.injusticebusters.com/06 Harris_Justin.shtml
Frank Peebles. “Ramsay Denied Parole: Former Prince George judge will get no early release from prison”. The Prince George Citizen. http://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=108567&Itemid=239
The Province. “No Parole for Former Judge Ramsay”. http://www.canada.com/theprovince/story.html?id=b3e0c22b bd66-452a-9d7f-1091ee7d2107&k=79523
Kelly MacDonald. “Justice Systems Response: Violence against Aboriginal Girls”. Justice For Girls.http://justiceforgirls.org/publications/pdfs/Violence%20against%20Aboriginal%20Girls%20-%20Final%20Brief%20-%20Sept%202005.pdf
The Canadian Holocaust. “Chronology of Events: Genocide in Canada”. http://canadiangenocide.nativeweb.orgintro2.html
HIGHWAY OF TEARS
In the more rural areas of KKKanada, the disregard of violence against Indigenous girls is often even further aggravated. The stretch of highway in the northern interior of British Columbia, coined the "Highway of Tears" is a case in point . While over the last ten years, thirty-two teenage girls, thirty-one whom are Indigenous, have gone missing or were found murdered along highway 16, only recently have 34 law enforcement officers been put to the task of conducting an investigation in the area. Compare this to a situation where one young man from a prestigious neighborhood in the lower mainland of Vancouver BC went missing from his home in South Vancouver. Over 100 law enforcement officers were put to the task of investigating and the man was found in two days.
This statement of priority, sends a strong message to the public about Canadas value of the lives of Indigenous girls. Further, A recent report released on the highway of tears made several recommendations, including that any “RCMP highway patrol that encounters a hitchhiker, who falls within the “victim profile” (which is specified as young Native women), must stop, conduct a person check, provide the hitchhiker with a highway of tears information pamphlet and a schedule of the shuttle bus between the town and city they are located at”. And “That the RCMP be provided the resources to increase their highway patrols during the hitchhiking season, more specifically increase these patrols along the sections of Highway 16 near First Nation communities, towns and cities”. While in theory this may seem proactive, and protective of First nations girls, the reality is that Indigenous girls continue to be targeted by police and RCMP while the white men whom predominantly carry out the crimes, continue to be “unmolested” by security forces. The perpetrators of violence and injustice (the “justice” system) need to be held accountable.
For more information:
The Highway of Tears Recommendations Report. http://www.ubcic.bc.ca/files/PDF/highwayoftearsfinal.pdf
Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy. "Canada: Highway of Tears". http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/blog/2006/08/canada_highway.html
GILBERT PAUL JORDAN
Between 1965 and 1988, on the downtown East Side of Vancouver, Gilbert Paul Jordan killed as many as a dozen First Nation women. Gilbert Paul Jordan, a wealthy 72-year-old former barber would prey on Women, ply them with dangerous amounts of alcohol, have sex with them and then watch them die. Three of the women were found in his barbershop; four died in flop hotel rooms he had rented.
At the time, most of the deaths were declared accidental overdoses of alcohol, even though Jordan was involved in reporting many of them -- after consulting his lawyer. But almost all his victims were “Native alcoholics”, and authorities seemed to care as little as he did.
Jordan has been convicted of manslaughter just once, in the 1987 death of Vanessa Lee Buckner, 27, who was found naked on a hotel room floor after a heavy drinking binge with Jordan.
His quest for drunken sex was insatiable. By his own estimation, he was with 200 women a year, hunting for his prey where the most vulnerable women live.
In 2000, he was acquitted of sexual assault. A few months later, he was charged again in Victoria with sexual assault and administering a noxious substance -- alcohol. Those charges were eventually stayed.
In May 2001, he was sentenced to 15 months in jail and was out in 2002 on probation.
MYTH: THINKING THE RCMP, POLICE & THE "JUSTICE SYSTEM" WILL CHANGE IF WE BUILD GOOD RELATIONS WITH THEM
The history and trajectory of the NWMP and the RCMP should be telling enough for people to realize that their behavior with and attitude of Indigenous people is deeply embedded in systemic racism that is entrenched in the entire KKKanadian justice system and government. The colonial state's agenda is to protect the powerful ruling elite (the rich) not to protect it's colonial subjects (Indigenous people).
While recent collaborative efforts on part of some Indigenous people have attempted to build "good relations" with the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) and the RCMP, their abuse has actually accelerated, and has not in fact, been mitigated. In a recent visit to the north of BC, in speaking with Indigenous youth workers, all had explained that police violence on their reserves is on the rise, epic and reaching epidemic levels. All seemed at a loss of what to do. Some discussed how the attempts to co-op with police, such as Aboriginal youth/police hockey nights and the canoe journeys have attempted to facilitate a type of positive dialog that builds an understanding of each other, but explained that the brutality has gone on unabated. History is telling, and the intention of imparting it is to teach us not to repeat our past mistakes.
Working with or within the state system will always maintain us as the subjects of a colonial power. It is the theory and practice of colonization, a state in which we live under today, that a state gains power through the oppression of another. If we continue to work WITH oppressive powers, how can we free ourselves from oppression?
Take the example of an abusive boyfriend. Most would agree that a woman should remove herself from an abusive relationship, knowing that humans are difficult to change by the standards of another; they have to change themselves on their own accord - predominantly by accepting the wrongs and by taking accountability for the abuse -(which if we accept the legality of the “justice” system, the police would be prosecuted and jailed like any other citizen that maimes, murders, rapes and kills). Yet some may say "try for the best and try to make it work; forgive and forget". It is reminiscent of “sweep-it-under-the-carpet” rhetoric from the 1950's, and futile, as most frontline crisis workers will agree.
So why do we continue to work with abusive powers, when we have been told that these types of abusive relationships are unhealthy? Why would we not attempt to draw from our own power, and create positive alternatives to abuse instead of attempting to make an abusive power work? Some have called the protection or will to "negotiate" with abusive powers a form of Stockholm's syndrome, others have called it assimilation, others have called it simply giving up.
Protecting Ourselves by Watching out for the cops
Creating our own security forces (not WITHIN the state apparatus) seems conducive to reclaiming our identities, our power, and our lives. It is crucial to think critically about how history has replayed itself and learn about what other peoples have done to really take back their lives and hold the killers and abusers (the police and RCMP) responsible, so that they will not strike again. That is what an Indigenous movement is all about - freeing ourselves from a violent state that projects itself as benevolent and munificent but in reality is paternalistic and most likely simply the opposite. We need to be able to identify our abusers and call them out instead of repeating an ugly history of protecting them. If we begin to be successful in moving these abusers (the rcmp, the police, pedofile judges and other "justice" system officials and thier agents) out of our communities, we then have to think about what types of Indigenous security systems we can rely upon. Ask your Elders and family members about the peace, order and good governance structures they use/used, what worked and what didnt. Find out about Warrior Sociteties that exisited/exist or are being built now. Talk to people in other communities about "cop watch". Organize, educate and mobilize.
More than just a Shadow of Doubt
Doubt the police will ever be the good guys? Most people get it. The cops hate us. They kill us, they beat us, and they rape us because we fit the description (5’8, back hair, brown skin). We need to start holding them responsible for their actions and we need to begin to build our own security forces. We need to stop fearing them. We need to take action. On Coast Salish Territory, some of the main issues in which have put the VPD under intense security by legal advocates such as PIVOT legal society are:
• The death of Frank Paul. The 47-year-old Mi'kmaq man died of exposure after the VPD dumped him intoxicated and soaking wet in an alley. Ex-Solicitor General Rich Coleman refused repeated and widespread calls for an inquiry into Paul's death, saying it would result in "public acrimony" toward the police.
• Six cops convicted of assault. After six VPD officers pleaded guilty to assault in 2003, Coleman rejected all calls for an inquiry. "It would be an exercise in name-calling," he said.
• The missing-women file. Coleman wasn’t moved when relatives of dozens of women missing from Vancouver's DTES accused police of bungling the case. "I don’t think there's any necessity at this point for a public inquiry," he said.
• When a VPD officer fell under suspicion of lying in court and stealing evidence in 2003, Coleman rejected calls for an inquiry. "I'm pretty confident in the Vancouver police force," he said.
But all across kkkanada, the instances of police brutality against Indigenous people have proved to be even more troubling. The following is a list of Indigenous people whom have been killed or violently abused by police and RCMP.
1988. John Joseph (JJ) Harper, a Native leader died at the hands of police after he was mistaken for a car thief on a Winnipeg street and shot dead by a police officer's revolver.
1990. Seventeen year-old Neil Stonechild was a Cree teenager who died of hypothermia after Saskatoon police took him outside of the city and abandoned him in a field on a night when temperatures were below -28°C in a practice known as a starlight tour.
STARLIGHT TOURS. The police’s frequent practice of dumping Indigenous people in the middle of nowhere (all across KKKanadian but most widely reported in Saskatchewan) is known as starlight tours. It is the non-sanctioned police practice of picking up individuals in their cruisers, mostly homeless, minorities, drug addicts, or other such marginalized people, and taking them outside of town where they would be beaten and/or abandoned on the side of the road.
August 1994. Carver Joe Peters, 34, of Alert Bay was shot in the head by an RCMP dogmaster.
September 6, 1995. Dudley George was a 38 year-old Chippewa. He was Shot and killed in Ipperwash Park by OPP Sgt. Kenneth Deane. Deane was found guilty of criminal negligence causing death. Judge Hugh Fraser ruled that Deane knew George was unarmed.
March 1998. Connie Jacobs, 37 and Ty Jacobs, 9, were of the Blackfoot Nation. Both were shot and killed by RCMP Constable Dave Voller. Attempts by social workers and tribal police to remove children to foster home resulted in shotgun fire exchange between Connie Jacobs and Constable Voller at the Jacobs home. Judge Thomas Goodson's report from the inquiry states that social workers and police should be better trained but it is not his job to determine if Voller committed a crime.
Forcible and violent removal of Indigenous children by police and RCMP is not unusual and is definitely racist in nature and part of a long history of colonization. Most people by now know of the awful experience of residential school, the 60’s scoop, and foster and group homes that Indigenous people have endured at the hands of the KKKanadian government.
December 1998. Frank Paul, a Mi'kmaq man, died of hypothermia shortly after being released by the Vancouver police department into an east Vancouver alley. It is hoped the inquiry will answer the many questions that remain regarding the circumstances of his death.
August 1999. 29-year-old Native artist Anthany Dawson living in Victoria died of asphyxiation after being forcibly detained during an arrest by Victoria police.
January 28, 2000. Darrell Night was a 33-year old Indigenous man who was detained by Saskatoon City Police who then took him to Saskatoon's outskirts and dumping him coatless into the winter night.
April 27, 2001. Melvin Wayne Bigsky, 33, of Kinistin First Nation was pepper sprayed, clubbed, shocked and shot to death by RCMP in an incident on Highway 41 outside Saskatoon.
May 20, 2001. Keldon McMillan, was a 33 man from the Poundmaker First Nation. He was shot to death by police after high speed chase on Highway 41 near Saskatoon.
March 2003. Lorraine Jacobsen was shot and killed in front of her nine-year-old daughter by a RCMP Mountie. The jury absolved the police of any wrongdoing, and in fact recommended an increase in the size of area police detachments.
August 27, 2003. Geronimo Fobister,17-years-old of the Anishnabe reserve of Grassy Narrows (in Ontario) Geronimo Fobister, was a “very charismatic and very likable” boy, who was shot in the head and killed by a member of the OPP emergency response team during a standoff at Grassy Narrows First Nation.
December 26th 2004. Nisga'a man Gerald Chenery was shot by two constables who had just finished training. A coroner's inquest recommended that the Vancouver police no longer allow rookie officers to be partnered. Chenery was hit with 12 bullets, 10 of them in the back, according to inquest testimony. The police department rejected the coroner's inquest recommendation.
January 2005. Matthew Dumas, 18, died when police fired two shots during what they called "a scuffle" with officers in Winnipeg. At least one shot hit Dumas, who later died in hospital. Dumas was the second Indigenous man in Manitoban to die in a police shooting within a month.
January 2005. An RCMP officer shot and killed Dennis St. Paul in Norway House after trying to arrest him for parole violations.
2005. Glenn Shuter was 25 and of the Lower Nicola Valley Reserve near Merrit. After he was arrested, he complained of being punched in the face and body. His teeth were broken and his eyes and ears swollen. Shuter was driven 10 kilometres out of town and dumped.A lengthy police investigation indicates the alleged beating happened in the presence of another on-duty officer and an auxiliary constable. Neither of them face criminal charges.
August 23,2005. Sixteen-year-old Kyle Tait was killed by a police officer while sitting in a stolen SUV. The teen died when Const. Todd Sweet, a 15-year New Westminster Police Department veteran, fired three rounds into the stolen GMC Yukon. The 18-year-old driver was hit in the hand.
December 2, 2005. Howard Fleury was a Metis man in Winnipeg, who was shot and killed by police.
August 2007. There are rumours circulating that a young man was in a hospital emergency treatment room, and several beds away was a police officer whose first name Craig, of or formerly of 278, and well known to the youth. Craig had been attacked by a K-9 Unit! The rumours also say that Craig threatened (the Youth) and directed that (the Youth) not tell anyone.
How are we supposed to trust that the "well trained K-9 unit" will not attack innocent people if it attacks a member of the VPD?
There are definitely more names that have not been reported widely or are more difficult to find. There are also hundreds of cases of police and RCMP brutality that are reported each month in single towns and cities. Indigenous people make a large percentage of these complaints. However, there are also many cases that go unreported especially by more vulnerable members of our communities, especially Indigenous women and girls.
The most recent violence the RCMP inflicted was on an 6 month year-old Indigenous baby from the Sechelt community, in which they pepper sprayed the child and later attempted to justify the act as "protecting themselves" from violence.
From Corporate KKKanadian news:
Last Updated: Tuesday, July 3, 2007 | 12:09 PM PT
Several aboriginal parents in a town northwest of Vancouver plan to file a complaint with the RCMP after a community celebration ended in pepper spray use and a confrontation with officers.
It all happened Monday night in Sechelt, B.C., after the Sechelt band's two youth teams won first prize at a soccer tournament in Vancouver.
Shannon Phillips said the RCMP pepper sprayed her and her baby Kaden.
The parents said it is a community tradition to celebrate with a grand entrance by honking horns.
RCMP Const. Annie Linteau said Tuesday police saw 10 youths standing in the back of a pickup truck, and tried to stop the vehicle.
She said when the driver finally stopped, he approached the officers in a hostile manner. In addition, a crowd of 50 to 75 people quickly became confrontational.
"Here they are dealing with a combative suspect who is yet to be handcuffed, yet to be in a controlled environment like the police car," Linteau said. "Meanwhile they have a crowd obstructing them in their duties and becoming combative themselves."
Shannon Phillips said she was carrying her baby and tried to intervene on behalf of her husband, Troy Myers, who was the driver of the pickup truck."They pepper sprayed him and when I went to say, 'What are you doing?' they turned around and pepper sprayed me and Kaden — quite a few times, actually."
Calvin Craigan, a former chief with the Sechelt band, told CBC Radio Tuesday that band members are "going to have a session with the RCMP" and demand an explanation. "We feel it's very disappointing that they would take this kind of action at this point in time when we've built a really good relationship with our community over the last 30 years," Craigan said.
While home video cameras rolled, people started screaming at the officers, who responded with more pepper spray.
In all, 15 adults and children, including two under two years old, were treated at St. Mary's Hospital for exposure to pepper spray. All were released.
At an emergency meeting Monday night, the community vowed to proceed with a complaint, saying the officers overreacted and showed no respect for a community tradition.
A 42-year-old was in custody facing several charges.
TAKE BACK THE STREETS!
One of the ways we can take action against state violence & abuse against our people is to rally up and form a collective voice and movement. When we stick together and show our strength in numbers and through our actions, it becomes more difficult for predators, like the RCMP and the police, to continue to hide their calous actions of sexual violence, pedofilia and brutality. We also aknowledge that we become targeted when we take action, especially if we are Indigenous or people of colour. Thats why we tell people, when you go to these actions BYOM! Bring your own mask. Protect yourself from the cops, RCMP and other predetory racists!
On September 7th Indigenous people and allies took over the streets to take a stand against police brutality inflicted on Indigenous people. As most people know Indigenous people are targets of police violence. It is a pivotal socio-political fact that indigenous people get beat, raped, tazered, shot, and killed by police everyday. Police are a participating part of a continuum of violence promoted by the entire "justice" system. The life and death of Harriet Nahanee is one of many examples of the lengths the "justice" system will go to attempt to demonstrate its subjugation over Indigenous people. For instance, the most recent horrific violence the RCMP inflicted was on an 8 month year-old Aboriginal baby, in which they pepper sprayed the child and later attempted to justify the act as "protecting themselves" from violence.
About 100 people took four lanes of traffic on Commercial Drive. People shouted out Take back the Streets, no more Police! And Whose Streets, Our Streets!, Whose Land, Our land! Indigenous youth with masks led the march with flags and drums. Stopping at an Intersection at Commercial Drive and 1st, one demonstrator wrote “Stolen Land” in Red paint on the ground at the intersection.
The March ended at Grandview Park, where Curtis Clearsky and JB the First lady performed in between numerous speakers and Drummers. A BBQ also finished the day.
There were reported to be two police cruisers, a bicycle unit, a motorcycle unit and a helicopter.
At around 9pm, when most people had left, about 15 young Native people hung out around the sound system, having fun listening to the (anti-police brutality) music, making jokes and talking about the march. They were soon approached by about a dozen bicycle cops who told them to turn the music off. When one Native woman asked why they were asked to turn the music off so early, the cop said that they did not want to hear complaints and that we should just turn it off to avoid problems. The cop then motioned for his belt, making some of the people think he was reaching for his gun, and pulled out his big ugly flashlight. THEN…As the women struggled to turn the sound off (with the cop right in her face with a flashlight over her head and in her eyes), all of the sudden BLASTING out of the speakers came this Ice T song:
For every cop that has ever taken advantage of somebody, beat 'em down or
hurt 'em, because they got long hair, listen to the wrong kinda music,
wrong color, whatever they thought was the reason to do it. For every one
of those fuckin' police, I'd like to take a pig out here in this parkin'
lot and shoot 'em in their mothafuckin' face!!!!!
Perfect timing or what! The woman was like (ah…umm) and the cop was like “turn it off NOW”!, and the woman said “what you don’t like this music..how come?” He then ripped the cord out of the speaker and made his way to the generator. The woman said “you’re racist, you racially profile us, damn there was even a helicopter out there for us today for just 100 Natives, are you scared of us or what”. And the cop said “you don’t even know me”. And the woman remarked” oh I know you well racist, I know what you’ve done”, then the cop got scared and took off, towards his little bicycle unit.
The woman (who was by then standing on a stage overlooking the 12 cops) said “why are you provoking us, you have no right to be here”. The cop said “this is a park for all people ” (yea exactly not for the pigs). Meanwhile there is this other Native guy talking about how the police try to take our lives away and destroy our land and connection to it. Then all the Native youth and a Native man stood beside the woman folding their arms on their chests and said, “its time for you to leave racists” and “ya’ll don’t come back now ya hear”. After about 2 minutes of that, the cops (with all their dorky bike gear) jumped on their little bikes and took off like ghosts in the wind…
An awesome end to a great day!
STOP POLICE/RCMP BRUTALITY AGAINST ALL PEOPLE!
STOP ALL RACIST POLICE!
POLICE AND RCMP OUT OF OUR COMMUNITIES!
History of this Event:
<<.......................................>> This is an annual event that began last year when four young Indigenous women decided to stand up against police violence and brutality when they were accosted, death threatened and harassed by Vancouver Police, while peacefully singing traditional songs in the park.
They realized that the incident was embedded in racism, sexism, ageism and most acutely - hate. They also realized that the incident of racist police violence they underwent was not isolated, but part of a large experience of police brutality Indigenous people are subjected to daily, and decided to do something.
On September 7th last year, a ceremony was held in the same park the girls were accosted in and a rally and march on Commercial Drive followed. These young women have started an Indigenous day of action against police brutality.
Want to get involved?
Get a hold of the Indigenous People's Free School to find out about upcoming actions, events and meetings.