Policing Crisis in Thunder Bay: Police Board Under Investigation – Call for RCMP to Investigate River Deaths

In response to a May 29, 2017 letter from Nishnawbe Aski Nation, Grand Council Treaty #3, and Rainy River First Nations, the Executive Chair of the Ontario Civilian Police Commission has advised Grand Chief Fiddler, Ogichidaa Kavanaugh and Chief Leonard that the Commission has commenced an investigation into the manner in which the Thunder Bay Police Services Board has been providing oversight to the Thunder Bay Police Service (TBPS).

Executive Chair Linda Lamoureux  advised that the Commission would not hesitate to appoint an administrator for the TBPS if evidence shows it to be necessary, and also advised that the Commission’s investigator will demonstrate the necessary cultural competence to conduct the investigation.

The three First Nation leaders have formed a Northern Alliance to address the public safety crisis in Thunder Bay. The ongoing drownings of First Nation youth in Thunder Bay rivers without explanation has led to a crisis of confidence in policing, and leaves Indigenous people in the city without adequate or effective police services.  The Northern Alliance is also calling on the Ontario government to bring in the RCMP to investigate the three most recent river deaths of Stacy DeBungee, Tammy Keeash, and Josiah Begg.

“We are dismayed by the dysfunctionality of the Thunder Bay Police Services Board, and have called for immediate action by the provincial authority over police boards – the Ontario Civilian Police Commission,” said Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler, during a press conference today.

“With all that has transpired to date, it is painfully obvious that the Thunder Bay Police cannot credibly investigate the river deaths,” said Grand Council Treaty #3 (GCT#3) Ogichidaa Francis Kavanaugh.

“As Chief of my community, I was shocked to receive a blanket refusal (in writing) by the Board Chair to even meet with my Council and the family during the currency of the OIPRD review. This kind of bunker mentality is embarrassing for what is supposed to be the civilian oversight body of the police service,” said Rainy River First Nations Chief Jim Leonard.

Related Documents

Letter to NAN, GCT3, RRFN from Executive Chair Linda Lamoureux   May 30, 2017,  Ontario Civilian Police Commission

Letter to Executive Chair Linda Lamoureux inquiry into TBPS   May 29, 2017, NAN, GCT3, RRFN

Letter to Minister Lalonde re RCMP   May 29, 2017, NAN, GCT3, RRFN

Julian Falconer Transcript Examination of Dr. Rose October 6, 2015, Page 135,  Seven Youth Inquest

Press Conference Documents

News Release: Thunder Bay Policing Crisis Around River Deaths   NAN, GCT#3, RRFN

Backgrounder: Thunder Bay Policing Crisis Around River Deaths   NAN, GCT#3, RRFN

Agenda: Thunder Bay Policcing Crisis Around River Deaths   NAN, GCT#3, RRFN


In the News

Evidence from First Nation student who survived Thunder Bay river attack resurfaces following eye-witness claim   June 1, 2017

Indigenous leaders call for RCMP to investigate deaths of young people in Thunder Bay   May 31, 2017, Toronto Star

Teen deaths, police probes, racism accusations: What’s going on in Thunder Bay?   May 31, 2017, CTV News


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