B.C. MMIWG coalition ask to meet with police on how they're handling inquiry follow-ups

The B.C. MMIWG coalition has asked to meet with B.C. RCMP and the Vancouver Police Department to talk about how the forces are responding to allegations of police misconduct that surfaced during the national inquiry and were referred back to police for further investigation.

The Coalition on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in B.C. includes family members and survivors as well as over 40 organizations including Indigenous political bodies, grassroots advocates, family members, survivors and large organizations like the B.C. Federation of Labour and Amnesty International. 

Before the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls concluded at the end of June, the inquiry sent out around 125 letters to institutions across the country about cases where it believed there was misconduct that needed to be looked at more closely and evidence it gathered that could relate to potential criminal offences. 

Most of those letters were sent to police services and detailed allegations of police misconduct that ranged from inadequate investigations to accounts of experiencing violence and racism at the hands of police. 

Family members and survivors who have spoken to CBC News about being approached by police to talk about things they had testified about to the inquiry described being confused, scared and skeptical about the process.

The coalition sent a letter to the police forces requesting a meeting. In the letter, it said its objectives in meeting are to learn more about how police are planning to investigate allegations of misconduct and to clarify how police will ensure there's transparency in how this work is being carried out.

It also wants to review with police the inquiry's calls for justice specific to policing and talk about how they can be implemented in a trauma-informed manner. 

"The need to end impunity for police misconduct is critical to building a trust relationship between Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people and police services," the coalition's letter states. 

"However, such a relationship is impossible unless investigations into allegations of police misconduct, and indeed all areas of police work, are transparent, and carried out in a trauma-informed way which does not cause additional harms to Indigenous peoples."

A member of the coalition told CBC News the Vancouver Police and RCMP have responded to the letters and agreed to meet. She said the groups are now trying to figure out when they can make that happen. 

B.C. RCMP confirmed it plans to meet with the coalition. 

CBC News has not yet received comment from Vancouver Police.