Mamakwa-McKay Inquest to Begin Today

To watch the inquest live, click here.

Today, October 11, 2022, the inquests into the death of Don Mamakwa, who died August 3, 2014 and Marlon (Roland) McKay, who died July 20, 2017, are scheduled to begin in Thunder Bay. The inquest is expected to last a total of seventeen (17) days. Falconers LLP partner Asha James and associate Amanda Micallef are representing the families of the two men.

Both Don and Roland died in police custody after being arrested and brought to the Thunder Bay Police Service (“TBPS”) jail while they were in a state of apparent intoxication and medical distress. Similarities between the two deaths and the mistreatment they endured have led the coroner to proceed jointly with both inquests.

The inquest will look at how racism, bias and stereotyping may have been a factor in the paramedics and TBPS officers’ interactions with Mamakwa and McKay. It will also explore how to properly deal with individuals who are suspected to be intoxicated, and whether they should be taken into police custody.

In a recent article by CBC news, Partner Asha James indicates that these stories are more common than you think.

“For a long time, we’ve heard the stories, but it’s very different when people see it and they hear it,” James said.

“One of the things that I’m hoping is that kind of visual representation is going to create a real eye-opening moment for some of the community members in Thunder Bay who haven’t realized the depth of what’s been going on in the relationship between the police service and Indigenous people in the city.”

Media Coverage:

Logan Turner (October 11, 2022) “Inquest for 2 First Nations men who died in police custody in Thunder Bay, Ont., begins today”, CBC News

Canada Press (Oct. 11, 2022) “Joint Inquest begins into deaths of two Indigenous men in Thunder Bay police custody” City News Kitchener

Related Postings: – March 16, 2022 – January 14, 2021

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