BROKEN TRUST: INDIGENOUS PEOPLE AND THUNDER BAY POLICE SERVICE- THE PATH TOWARDS RECONCILIATION

In 2015, the body of missing Rainy River First Nations member, Stacey DeBungee was discovered in the McIntyre River near Thunder Bay Ontario. In less than three hours and without identifying the body, the Thunder Bay police concluded in a formal statement to the public that his death did not appear to be suspicious. After the family and the Indigenous community got involved, it was discovered a short time after the incident that Stacey DeBungee’s case was mistreated by the Thunder Bay Police. In a candid CTV interview, Robin McGinnis, Chief of Rainy River First Nations explained that, “the police didn’t do their job, they didn’t investigate anyone, they didn’t interview anyone, and they didn’t tape off the scene. That’s when the community got involved and wanted answers.” It was after hearing how Stacey DeBungee’s investigation was neglected, legal counsel for the DeBungee family confirmed that on “March 18, 2016, Stacey’s family and the leadership of Rainy River First Nations filed an Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) complaint regarding a lack of thorough investigation into Stacey’s death on the part of the Thunder Bay Police Service, […] pointing to a systemic issue in the investigations of drowning deaths of Indigenous men and boys.”

 

 

 

 

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