Call for independent inquiry repeated at vigil for Chantel Moore in Vancouver
VANCOUVER -- Organizers of a vigil held in memory of Chantel Moore in Vancouver Saturday repeated her family’s call for an independent inquiry into her death, and for recommendations from the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls to be adopted.
Chantel Moore, a 26-year-old Tla-o-qui-aht woman from Vancouver Island, died June 4 after a police officer in Edmundston, NB, arrived at her home to perform a wellness check. Police say the arriving officer encountered a woman with a knife and shot her.
Organizers said the event is a chance to show solidarity with Moore’s family “as they demand justice.” A small group met in front of Vancouver Police Department headquarters Saturday afternoon and walked to nearby Hinge Park to light candles in memory of Moore.
Simone Page, one of the organizers of the event, said they chose to gather at the police station because of the circumstances around Moore’s death.
“When this woman died she left behind a six-year-old daughter,” Page said.
“We just want to make sure she grows up in a world where she feels safe, where she feels protected and where she doesn’t feel scared of the police.”
Page said it was “unjustifiable” that a wellness check would end with Moore’s death.
Just one week after Moore was shot, another Indigenous man in New Brunswick, Rodney Levi, died after being shot by police. The two deaths have sparked calls to reform the role of police when responding to health and wellness concerns, and have come amid a North-America-wide reckoning of the racism Black and Indigenous people face when interacting with the police.
The circumstances around Moore’s death are now being investigated by Quebec’s police investigation agency.
But Indigenous leaders have called for an independent investigation into her death, as well as investigation into what they call the ongoing systemic bias and racism that policing services and the justice system display towards Indigenous peoples.
The vigil in Vancouver follows a similar event held in Victoria Thursday, where Moore’s mother spoke through tears about the need for change.
“My daughter’s life mattered,” said Martha Martin.
The federal government has come under fire for failing to implement recommendations from the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
The recommendations were delivered to government a year ago, but in an assessment released June 3, the Native Women's Association of Canada found little has been done to address the inquiry's 231 calls for justice in the last 12 months.
With files from CTV News Atlantic, CTV News Vancouver Island and The Canadian Press.