Quebec's BEI completes investigation into police shooting death of Chantel Moore

·3 min read

Quebec's police watchdog agency says it has completed an investigation into the fatal shooting of Chantel Moore in June by an Edmundston police officer and submitted its report to New Brunswick's public prosecution service to determine if charges are warranted.

The RCMP requested the bureau des enquêtes indépendantes, or BEI, carry out the investigation of the 26-year-old shot by a police officer during a wellness check in a northwestern New Brunswick city on June 4.

Moore, of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation in British Columbia, had recently moved to New Brunswick to be closer to her daughter, who was living with Moore's mother Martha Martin in Edmundston.

The shooting, followed less than two weeks later by the fatal shooting by RCMP of Rodney Levi in eastern New Brunswick, led to calls for an inquiry into systemic racism against Indigenous people in the province.

Bernard LeBel/Radio-Canada
Bernard LeBel/Radio-Canada

A summary of its findings in a news release issued Wednesday says the Edmundston Police Force was called at 2:06 a.m. for a wellness check. At 2:32 a.m., it says an officer arrived at the woman's home and knocked on the living room window several times.

After several minutes, the woman opened the door "armed with a knife and walks toward the policeman."

The statement says the officer stepped back onto a balcony, asked the woman to drop the knife "in vain," and then fired his weapon.

The statement says first aid was immediately provided by police, though paramedics noted she was dead at 2:45 a.m.

The BEI report into the shooting was sent to the New Brunswick public prosecutions service as well as the coroner on Dec. 16. The prosecutor will determine whether charges will be laid.

Coreen Enos, a spokesperson for the New Brunswick government, said in a statement that the public prosecution service is examining the findings "to determine what steps will be taken. It is expected the examination of these findings will take several weeks."

The investigation report has not been publicly released. The BEI statement says that's because it contains sensitive information, statements by witnesses as well as evidence.

The events outlined align with the version of events Edmundston police described to reporters in the hours after the shooting.

Moore's family has said the officer who shot her should be charged with murder. The officer is not named in the BEI statement.

Edmundston has previously said the officer returned to work in weeks after the shooting but had been only performing administrative tasks.

Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press
Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press

CBC News has requested comment from the police agency and City of Edmundston but has not received a response. A lawyer representing Moore's estate and family has also not responded to requests for comment.

The BEI statement says it won't offer additional comment beyond the statement issued Wednesday.

Bob Davidson, a labour analyst with the New Brunswick Police Association, said the group representing municipal police officers across the province doesn't know any details of the BEI findings.

"Hopefully [the report] will be released soon to the public and all stakeholders, so that the facts of the situation can be understood from the report," Davidson said.