RCMP lack of training may have led to Indigenous deaths

Rows of RCMP, dressed in red coasts and stetsons hats, marching on parademounted poolce
RCMP photo by Pedro Lopez via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License)
Roy Hales - CKTZ - Cortes IslandBC | 22-07-2021

By Roy L Hales

Chief Darren Blaney, of the Homalco Nation, suggests that six months training is not enough to equip the Campbell River RCMP to deal with intense situations like that which led to the recent shooting of Jared Lowndes.

Lack of training dealing with complex issues

“There is a lot of emphasis on physical training and physical fitness, but not policing with social problems and mental health issues. Escalation and racial bias are not really examined during the training period,” said Blaney, who has relatives in the force. “I think there are a lot of things we miss in the lack of training. I wonder how they handle stress? How do they handle pressure situations like what happened to Jared?”

Jared Lowndes fled when they attempted to serve an outstanding warrant for weapons offences, on July 8th. When the RCMP caught up to him in the Tim Hortons parking lot, they allegedly smashed into his vehicle from three sides – boxing Lowndes in. Then they sent a police dog in. Lowndes defended himself with a knife, killing the dog, and the police responded by gunning him down.

The Independent Investigation Office said it cannot comment, but  the victim’s family informed CKTZ News that the warrant was old and Lowndes had already been acquitted by the court.

Chief Blaney said that if the police were better trained and knew how to de-escalate, both Lowndes and the police dog would be alive today.

Lowndes two daughters, Phoenix and Patience, would still have a father.

Flowers, posters, notes and photographs placed around a streetlamp across from where Jared Lowndes was killed

Street-side memorial to Jared Lowndes in Campbell River. Hw was killed beside the bent 'Drive Thru Exit' sign across the street – photo by Roy L Hales

Too many Indigenous killings

It has been six years since RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson admitted there are racists in his police force.

”Yet nothing was done about it. All these deaths … are from the lack of action,” said Blaney.

Blaney mentioned the recent police shooting of Chantelle Moore, in New Brunswick.

“It was a health check, health and wellness, and they shot her five times. There was some real lack of de-escalation training and it is our people that pay the price in many of those situations,” he said.

Moore was one the four Vancouver Island First Nations people that police have killed in a little over a year. Three of these deaths occurred on Vancouver Island.

“I was listening to CBC and they were talking about the training police receive. A nurse called in and said that it takes her four years of university to become a nurse. For a police officer, who has the authority to use lethal force, it only takes six months,” said Blaney.

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