Police in northwestern New Brunswick fatally shot a 26-year-old Indigenous woman Thursday after being called to perform a “wellness check.”
Chantel Moore’s family identified her as the woman killed by police in Edmundston, N.B. Moore was from B.C.’s Tlaoquiaht First Nation but had recently moved to there to be closer to her five-year-old daughter, CTV News reported.
Edmundston police said in a statement the responding officer was allegedly confronted by a woman, who had a knife and was making threats. The officer shot the woman and she died at the scene despite attempts to resuscitate her.
Moore’s ex-boyfriend, who lives in Toronto, had asked police to perform the wellness check, according to CBC News, because she was reportedly being harassed in her new home.
Moore’s father Eugene told Global News that his daughter was looking forward to her new life in Edmundston.
“She was very positive, she was making a lot of friends,” Eugene Moore said, adding that he just wanted to speak to the officer involved to find out what had happened.
“There would have had to have been something that he saw that would have completed the picture of a hostile encounter we would have had to protect himself like he did.”
Her grandmother Nora Martin told CTV she believed race was a factor in Moore’s death.
Officer involved is ‘off work’
“When I first heard about it, that was my first thought: ‘This was racially motivated,’” Martin said. “We’ve been dealing with police brutality for a number of years… I know in my own family, it’s been going on for a long time.”
She also noted that her granddaughter was small in stature, and wondered why a Taser hadn’t been used.
An autopsy has been scheduled and the police service is investigating but an independent agency is also being brought in to look into the shooting as New Brunswick does not have an agency that inspects police actions like Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit, CBC reported.
The officer who killed Moore has not been identified but is “off work” and a decision about a suspension will be made once the investigation is complete.
Moore’s death comes during a time where the use of force by police has been under particular scrutiny following the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, who are both Black, in the United States. In Canada, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, a Black woman, fell 24 storeys to her death on May 27 while police were in her apartment, spurring protests in Toronto similar to those in the U.S. The Ontario Special Investigations Unit is investigating that incident.
A GoFundMe campaign was started for Moore’s family to help many of them travel to New Brunswick to be with Moore’s daughter and mother.
“[They] are in need of family support during this tragic time and six members of her family are planning to travel to New Brunswick to support her and practice traditional Nuu-Chah-Nulth grieving protocols,” the campaign reads, adding that the money will also go towards funeral costs and any remaining funds will be given to Moore’s mother and daughter.
The campaign also says the family has been given permission to travel to New Brunswick despite provincial COVID-19 restrictions.
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