Calls to reopen Nadine Machiskinic case as Regina police accused of 'botched job'
Anti-racism groups and family members of Nadine Machiskinic are calling for Regina police to reopen the investigation into her death, calling the initial case "a botched job."
Speaking at a news conference on Monday, the group called for fairer treatment of the death of the 29-year-old mother, who fell down a hotel laundry chute in Regina in 2015.
"I guess what we're here today for is, again, to yell as loudly as we can for justice and fair treatment," said community activist Brenda Dubois.
"There were too many glitches, and regardless of how the police want to respond, they need to be able to admit that this was a botched job."
Reopening investigation up to police, says attorney general
Machiskinic's aunt Delores Stevenson said she has written to justice minister and attorney general Gordon Wyant, asking for the investigation to be reopened.
But in a statement issued Monday afternoon, Wyant said it was not the role of the attorney general to direct the actions of police.
"There were a lot of questions that came out of the [coroner's] inquest and it is up to the responsible agencies, such as the RPS [Regina Police Service], coroner's office and the ministry to ensure processes are improved so that these do not happen again," said Wyant.
He suggested the family direct its request to the Public Complaints Commission, which previously determined there was no issue with Regina police work.
"With the inquest now being complete, they might revisit that review but it would be up to [the PCC] to make that determination if a request was made," said Wyant.
Inquest reversed coroner's decision on manner of death
Machiskinic fell 10 storeys down a laundry chute at the Delta Hotel in January 2015. Questions remain about how she came to be in the chute.
A coroner's inquest into Machiskinic's death concluded on March 30.
The jury found the manner of her death is "undetermined," contrary to the finding of the chief coroner, who had ruled it an accident.
The inquest highlighted a number of delays and errors in the police investigation into Machiskinic's death.
Family frustrated by police chief's comments
Monday's news conference was partly a reaction to comments made by Regina Police Chief Evan Bray last week.
Following the conclusion of the inquest, Bray admitted there were mistakes in the investigation.
But he said it wasn't influenced by who Machiskinic was.
"The Regina Police Service will not ever conduct an investigation based on interpretation of a person's lifestyle, race, gender — bias like that won't find itself into an investigation," Bray said at the time.
'This is simply not reality'
Saskatchewan Coalition Against Racism advocate Bob Hughes, who was present at Monday's news conference, disagreed with Bray's assertion that gender and race were not factors in the treatment of Machiskinic's case.
"That is simply not reality," he said.
"We all carry our biases with us and it is imperative that we not deny that fact but rather keep that realization utmost in our mind as we fulfil our duties."
The news conference was also organized by Stevenson, the Coalition for Civilian Oversight and Colonialism No More.
Each of the organizations said they asked for — and were denied — standing at the coroner's inquest.