Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Police in Thunder Bay, Ont., to Reinvestigate Nine Indigenous Deaths

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Police in Thunder Bay, Ont., to Reinvestigate Nine Indigenous Deaths

Article excerpt

Police in Thunder Bay to reinvestigate 9 deaths

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TORONTO - The deaths of at least nine Indigenous people in Thunder Bay, Ont., will be reinvestigated after an external review found serious flaws with the original probes, the city's chief of police said this week.

In a presentation to the police services board, Chief Sylvie Hauth called for the establishment of a multi-discipline team to conduct the reinvestigations.

"Nine of the (service's) sudden-death investigations ... are so problematic, I recommend these cases be reinvestigated," Hauth said in a letter to the board. "The multi-investigation team should establish a protocol for determining whether other ... sudden-death investigations should be reinvestigated."

One of Ontario's police watchdogs, the Office of the Independent Police Review Director or OIPRD, had recommended another look at the nine deaths in a scathing report in December that determined racist attitudes had plagued and undermined the original probes.

Overall, the report concluded, the investigations were shoddy, and a "crisis of trust" existed between police and the city's Indigenous community .

Hauth's initial response to the report came under criticism when she acknowledged only unspecified "systemic barriers in policing" that had to be addressed. However, after the board acknowledged failing the Indigenous community, Hauth said "systemic racism" within the police service and board needed addressing.

In her report to the board on Tuesday, Hauth recommended reinvestigation of the deaths of Christine Gliddy, 28, Shania Bob, 18, Marie Spence, 30, Aaron Loon, 20, and Sarah Moonias, 57.

The other four cases Hauth said deserved another look are the deaths of Jethro Anderson, 15, Curran Strang, 18, Kyle Morrisseau, 17, and Jordan Wabasse, 15, which were subject to a coroner's inquest. Several of the victims, all students from northern Ontario, were found drowned in or near city rivers. …

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