'Our lives mean nothing:' Chantel Moore's mother disappointed by police commission report

·3 min read
Martha Martin still can't understand how her daughter, Chantel Moore, was shot and killed by an Edmundston Police Force officer during a wellness check last June. (Radio-Canada/Nicolas Steinbach - image credit)
Martha Martin still can't understand how her daughter, Chantel Moore, was shot and killed by an Edmundston Police Force officer during a wellness check last June. (Radio-Canada/Nicolas Steinbach - image credit)

Chantel Moore's mother is still looking for accountability in her daughter's death at the hands of police last year.

"Our lives mean nothing, you know," Martha Martin said Friday. "There's no accountability, there's no consequences."

Martin was reacting to a report released Thursday by the New Brunswick Police Commission, which found the Edmundston police officer who shot and killed Moore committed no wrongdoing.

Commission chair Marc Léger said there was "insufficient evidence" that Const. Jeremy Son breached the Code of Professional Conduct Regulation.

Edmundston Police Chief Alain Lang said Son will be able to resume his duties as a patrol officer.

Moore, an Indigenous woman from Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation in British Columbia, had moved to Edmundston to be near her mother and then six-year-old daughter. The 26-year-old was shot by Son during a wellness check at her apartment on June 4, 2020.

Radio-Canada
Radio-Canada

Son alleged he was backed into a corner by Moore, who he said was wielding a knife.

When she heard the commission's findings, Martin said she was initially disappointed and then angry.

"This is nothing new to us, you know. We knew that there would be no consequences for his actions," said Martin in an interview on Friday.

She finds it difficult to believe the officer will be returning to duty.

"How is it that we're having a cop who shot and killed somebody, who's able to go back to active duty? There's been no psych evaluations done. You know, do we even know that he's mentally prepared to go back to active duty?"

Although not content with the commission's report, she said she's not sure what changes are needed.

Chantel Moore/Facebook
Chantel Moore/Facebook

"Do we push forward, push harder for police to wear body cams? Should they be allowed to go back to active duty after shooting off their firearm?

"There's so much that you want to have changed so that we don't have any more Chantel Moores or we don't have any more Rodney Levis, you know?"

Not long after Moore was killed, Rodney Levi of Metepenagiag First Nation was shot and killed by RCMP. Prosecutors opted not to charge the officer, determining that, based on the evidence, the officer acted lawfully.

Martin said changes are needed in order to "mend these bridges between policing and indigenous people" and people of colour.

She hopes that a coroner's inquest into Moore's death, scheduled to begin Feb. 22, 2022, at the Edmundston Convention Centre, will deliver some of the answers she's looking for.

Calls for justice

Moore's killing sparked calls for justice by First Nations communities in New Brunswick and across Canada.

It also led to an investigation by Quebec's police watchdog, the Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes (BEI).

The results of that investigation have not been revealed, but they were shared with the Public Prosecutions Service of New Brunswick, which in June announced it would not pursue charges against the officer.

Léger said the commission usually tasks police forces with conducting their own code of conduct investigations, then reviews the findings, and gives the final word on any sanctions or disciplinary actions.

He said it was "in the public interest" for the commission to conduct the investigation into Moore's death — the largest the commission has ever undertaken.

It included interviews with more than 20 witnesses and also involved investigators performing a re-enactment of the scene under conditions as similar as possible to those that happened on June 4, 2020.

Issues with police policies identified

While the investigation found that Son did not breach the code of conduct, investigators discovered issues with policies and procedures followed by the Edmundston Police Force, Léger said.

Investigators also noted issues with malfunctioning dash cams and microphones, and a lack of policy regarding the reporting of malfunctioning equipment.

The commission also identified a need for a thorough review on how police respond to calls for wellness checks.

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