A 26-year-old Indigenous woman from British Columbia has been shot and killed by police in northwestern New Brunswick.
The Edmundston Police Force says it received a request to check on a woman’s well-being at an apartment building early Thursday morning.
The force says the officer who responded to the call encountered a “woman holding a knife who made threats.”
It says the officer fired a weapon and attempted to resuscitate the woman, who was from Port Alberni, B.C., but she was pronounced dead at the scene.
The force says it’s asking for an independent review of the shooting, and New Brunswick RCMP will help with the investigation as “a matter of accountability.”
First Nations groups identified the woman as Chantel Moore.
“I would like to extend my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Chantel Moore, a loving mother and a kind, gentle person. Another Indigenous life has been senselessly and prematurely lost at the hands of police in Canada,” Terry Teegee, regional Chief, BC Assembly of First Nations said in a release.
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the BC Union of Indian Chiefs, said he is outraged by her death.
“Her family’s loss is heartbreaking, and it is made more so by how familiar this loss has become for our communities,” Phillip said in a release.
“Inaction to dismantle the white supremacy foundational to policing has caused this to be one in a pattern rather than an exception, and I believe we need to tear down the systems that allow for the pattern to continue.”
Lydia Hwitsum with the group First Nations Summit called for a full, independent and impartial investigation into the fatal shooting.
“Her family deserves answers to the circumstances that led to her tragic death at the hands of the Edmundston Police Department,” she said in a release.
“Indigenous people in Canada face clear systemic racial bias by police forces. This systemic racism must stop, Indigenous lives matter, the lives of Indigenous women and girls matter!”
Moore’s death comes amid protests against police violence in Canada and the U.S.
A Halifax-based group Women’s Wellness Within said it mourns Moore’s death.
It said police should not be sent to check on people’s well-being, noting that studies have shown that the victims of many such police-involved deaths are people in mental distress.
“The provision of health is not something police can do,” the group said in a release. “All dispatchers need to understand this and stop sending police.”
The group said money spent on police should be redirected to health-affirming services, community organizations, housing and supports.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 4, 2020.