(OTTAWA, January 15) – The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is calling on provincial authorities in New Brunswick to treat the family of a First Nations women who was shot to death by police in Edmundston last June with more transparency and respect.
Martha Martin, the mother of 26-year-old Chantel Moore, says she still has not received the autopsy results that could shed light on how her daughter, who was not armed with a gun, was killed during what was supposed to have been a “wellness check.”
Martin has also heard nothing about the results of a six-month investigation into the shooting that was conducted by the Quebec-based agency BEI. It was only when a reporter called Martin in December, while she was shopping, that she learned the investigation had been completed and the results had been handed over to the New Brunswick Coroner and the New Brunswick Public Prosecution Services.
The Prosecutions Service will have to decide whether to lay charges against the police officer who shot Chantel; however, neither the Prosecutions Service nor the New Brunswick Corner have reached out to Martin to let her know how long that process will take. And she has not been provided with a copy of the findings of the BEI investigation.
“It is shameful that the government, the Prosecutions Service, and the Coroner would leave a grieving family in the dark like this,” says Lorraine Whitman, the President of NWAC. “Martha Martin has so many questions about what happened on the night her daughter was killed. We have so many questions. We can’t help but think that, had Chantel not been Indigenous, the authorities would have kept her family up to date about progress in this case.”
According to the BEI report, the officer alleges that Chantel came to the door after he had knocked repeatedly. The report says she was brandishing a knife moving toward him, and that he fired his gun at her after she ignored his demands to drop the weapon. Media reports have said she was shot five times.
“It’s the policeman’s word against my daughter’s. And she is not here to defend herself,” says Martha Martin. “We keep on waiting for answers. Most of all, we want the truth to come out.”
NWAC is calling for the New Brunswick authorities to share with Chantel Moore’s family the results of the BEI investigation. Further, the organization is calling on the Prosecutions Service to make a decision about whether or not to lay charges against the police officer who shot and killed Chantel Moore. As well, NWAC is calling on the release of the autopsy report to Ms. Martin.
“There can be nothing more devastating than the death of a child,” says Whitman. “But the New Brunswick authorities have made this tragedy even worse for Chantel Moore’s family through their silence and lack of transparency.”