Catherine McCarthy-Martin holds a yellow rose in honour of her niece Chantel Moore during a healing gathering at the B.C. Legislature in Victoria on Thursday, June 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Catherine McCarthy-Martin holds a yellow rose in honour of her niece Chantel Moore during a healing gathering at the B.C. Legislature in Victoria on Thursday, June 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Family plans wrongful death lawsuit in B.C. woman’s police shooting

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation member Chantel Moore killed after recently moving to New Brunswick

The lawyer for the family of Chantel Moore says he plans to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the City of Edmundston, N.B., and the police officer who shot and killed her last year.

“We intend to file that complaint in the coming weeks,” T.J. Burke said in an interview Tuesday, one day after prosecutors ruled out criminal charges against the officer.

Moore, a 26-year-old Indigenous woman, was shot and killed by a member of the Edmundston Police Force during a wellness check on June 4, 2020. She was a member of Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation in British Columbia who had recently moved to New Brunswick to be closer to her family.

New Brunswick’s Public Prosecutions Services released its report Monday outlining its reasons against charging the officer. Those documents, along with the report by Quebec’s police watchdog, Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes, have provided Moore’s family with enough information to launch its lawsuit, Burke said. Quebec’s watchdog probed the shooting because New Brunswick doesn’t have an independent police oversight agency.

“Now that we have the foundation of the basis for a civil claim, the family has instructed us to move forward with it, and we intend to pursue it,” Burke said about the reports from the Quebec watchdog and the prosecutions services.

Officials for the city declined comment Tuesday.

Investigators said the shooting occurred after the young woman was intoxicated and approached the officer with a knife in her hand. Prosecutors said the officer shot at Moore to defend or protect himself and that his actions were reasonable under the circumstances.

The officer, however, told investigators he regrets not giving himself an exit from the confrontation on the balcony outside Moore’s third-floor apartment.

Patrick Wilbur, regional director of the Public Prosecutions Services, wrote in his report that an officer should always take into consideration their environment when responding to a call “to ensure that you leave yourself an exit path, and not cornering himself as he did.”

“After the fact, he regrets his decision to go left and not towards the stairs, as he would have had an exit route. He acknowledges that had he done that, the sequence of events may have had a different outcome,” Wilbur said about the officer who shot and killed Moore.

Burke said there needs to be a serious look at how police officers are equipped when they respond to calls, not just involving Indigenous people but everybody.

“They need to have body cameras,” he said. “They need to have Tasers. They need to have the appropriate non-lethal-force devices. They need to be experienced and trained in their use of force continuum.”

Burke said it was important for him to represent the family because as one of the only Indigenous lawyers in the province, he has seen systemic racism at every level of the justice system.

The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, which represents Moore’s First Nation and 13 others on Vancouver Island, issued a statement Monday saying it was outraged the officer will not be charged. Council president Judith Sayers said the Crown is relying almost entirely on the statement of the police officer.

“There was no body cam, there was no witnesses, so this police officer will say what he has to in order to save himself,” Sayers said. “I have never understood how an armed, large police officer was scared of a five-foot, 100-pound woman with a small knife in her hand if she had one. Shooting four times is excessive force by anyone’s standards except the Crown counsel.”

Chief Alan Polchies of the St. Mary’s First Nation in Fredericton said he also can’t understand why the officer had to use deadly force. “I cannot express the disappointment I feel towards … the prosecution decision,” Polchies said in an interview Tuesday.

He was part of a group that rallied in front of the New Brunswick legislature Tuesday morning seeking justice for Chantel Moore. Polchies said there needs to be a proper inquiry into how police conduct wellness checks.

“If they don’t want to do an inquiry into people getting killed in this country, then let’s do an independent inquiry into the provincial justice system itself,” he said.

The New Brunswick Police Commission will now determine if the officer breached the code of conduct under the Police Act.

“The Police Act is clear that complaints that proceed to an investigation must be investigated, and decision made within six months whether there is sufficient evidence that the police officer breached the Code of Professional Conduct Regulation,” the commission said in a statement Tuesday.

The commission said it will make no further comment.

A coroner’s inquest scheduled to begin Dec. 6 will make recommendations on how similar deaths can be avoided.

—Kevin BissettThe Canadian Press

RELATED: No charges against police officer in the fatal shooting of Chantel Moore

Indigenouspolice shooting

Just Posted

A drone’s-eye view of the Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge. (Screenshot/Shutter Speed Network)
Kent Council advocates for a wider Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge

Council voted unanimously to send letter of concern to transportation ministry

Temperature records were broken for June 21, 2021. (Black Press Media file photo)
Record-breaking heat shimmered across Fraser Valley for second day

Tuesday should be a bit cooler says forecast from Environment Canada

Artists featured in the BLM Social Justice Art Project at UFV are (clockwise from top left): Michelle Msami, Dona Park, Rain Neeposh and Faria Firoz.
Black Lives Matter art exhibit opens at UFV in Abbotsford

Show features the work of four artists and runs until Sept. 15

Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl (right) toured the Hope Curling Club last February along with Ray Scott (left) and Craig Traun (middle) after the building had accessibility improvements. (Submitted photo)
Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl touts Enabling Accessibility Fund

Strahl is encouraging local organizations to apply for funding for mid-sized projects before July 29

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
Student’s quote in Chilliwack high school yearbook equates graduation with end of slavery

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Golden Ears Mountains, captured in May 2021. (Black Press Media files)
2nd year of day passes required for entry into 5 provincial parks launches in B.C.

Pilot program seeks to protect the environment by addressing visitor surges amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Lincoln Mckoen. (YouTube)
Anglican bishop of the central Interior resigns over sexual misconduct allegations

Lincoln Mckoen was elected as a bishop of the Territory of the People region last year

The former Kamloops Indian Residential School on the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc reserve. (Allen Douglas/Kamloops This Week)
Tk’emlups preparing for archaeological work at B.C. residential school site where remains found

The 215 graves are, to the band’s knowledge, undocumented deaths for which it is still collecting records

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Fans watch the warm-up before Game 6 between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens in NHL playoff hockey action Saturday, May 29, 2021 in Montreal. Quebec’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions will allow 2,500 fans to attend the game for the first time in fourteen months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Two-thirds of Canadians say governments shouldn’t lift all COVID-19 restrictions

Poll reports Canadians who gained pandemic weight say they have gained 16 pounds on average

Paul Bernardo is shown in this courtroom sketch during Ontario court proceedings via video link in Napanee, Ont., on October 5, 2018. Teen killer and serial rapist Paul Bernardo is set for a parole hearing today. The designated dangerous offender, has been eligible for full parole for more than three years. Bernardo’s horrific crimes in the 1980s and early 1990s include for kidnapping, torturing and killing Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy near St. Catharines, Ont. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Greg Banning
Killer rapist Paul Bernardo faces parole hearing today; victim families opposed

Designated dangerous offender has been eligible for full parole for more than three years.

People look over the damage after a tornado touched down in Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal, Monday, June 21, 2021. Dozens of homes were damaged and one death has been confirmed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
One dead and extensive damage as tornado hits Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal

Damage reported in several parts of the city, and emergency teams dispatched to sectors hardest hit

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

Most Read