Marchers head out from Fraser River Heritage Park towards the Lougheed Highway. / Kevin Mills Photo

Marchers head out from Fraser River Heritage Park towards the Lougheed Highway. / Kevin Mills Photo

Mission RCMP’s Serious Crime Unit now investigating Indigenous march incident

RCMP issue an update on investigation into event where four people were struck by vehicle at march

The Mission RCMP’s Serious Crime Unit has taken charge of the ongoing investigation into a June 4 incident when participants of the March for Recognition for Residential Schools were struck by a pickup truck, while the march made its way along Lougheed Highway.

MORE: Four people struck during march

Two of the people struck received non-life-threatening injuries. The 77-year-old alleged driver came forward the following day and is cooperating with the investigation.

According to the RCMP, the Serious Crime Unit is continuing to interview more witnesses, with around 20 interviews already having been conducted. Investigators believe some people have not yet contacted police to provide statements or any video footage they may have and are encouraging them to do so.

ALSO: Driver comes forward to police

On Wednesday (June 8) Indigenous leaders called for a meeting with RCMP to discuss how police intend to proceed.

After the meeting, on June 9, the Mission RCMP released an update.

The entire release is below:

“Mission RCMP has been engaged in an ongoing investigation after participants of the March for Recognition for Residential Schools were struck by a pickup truck on June 4, while the March was making its way along Lougheed Highway just east of Mission. Two of the people struck received non-life-threatening injuries. The 77-year-old driver came forward the following day and is cooperating with the investigation.

“The incident was deeply concerning for everyone involved, and members of the public raised concerns about whether the incident was racially targeted, and why the driver was not in custody. As a result, members of the Cheam First Nation invited officers from both the Mission RCMP and Upper Fraser Valley Regional District RCMP to meet with them on June 8.

“Senior leaders from both RCMP detachments accepted the offer, and spent the morning meeting with the Cheam First Nation, as well as members of the organizing committee and some of the victims of this incident, says Inspector Ted Lewko, the officer in charge of the Mission detachment. It allowed an opportunity for us as the RCMP to listen to their concerns, as well as to be able to explain the importance of a proper fulsome investigation, and not rushing through it. We want to ensure we put our best foot forward when conducting investigations. The Mission detachment is working diligently through the investigation and its officers will continue to work towards building positive relationships with Indigenous communities.

“The Mission RCMP’s Serious Crime Unit has taken conduct of this complex investigation, and is continuing to interview more witnesses, with around 20 interviews already having been conducted. Investigators believe that some of the people whom have posted video footage about this incident on social media have not yet contacted police to provide that footage or their statements. Officers continue to encourage any witnesses, or anyone with video footage or dash-cam footage of the incident – even if it is simply footage of vehicles waiting in traffic – to contact Mission RCMP at 604-826-7161.

“Police are also specifically looking to speak with the driver of a single-unit dump truck or semi truck that was behind the blue Chevrolet Silverado pickup when it drove away from the area of the March. Police believe that driver may have some key information for this investigation.

“The Mission RCMP empathizes with those who have been affected by this incident, and understand that closure cannot come soon enough. At the same time, it is also vitally important that the investigation be conducted at the highest standard, to ensure that the evidence gathered is upheld in Court, and no witnesses or evidence is missed.

“Investigators are holding integrity, respect, and compassion at the forefront of their investigation, and once the evidence gathering phase has been completed, a comprehensive report will be prepared for the BC Prosecution Service, for the charge assessment process. The RCMP is committed to doing so in a thorough and timely manner, to help to bring answers and healing to those involved in this incident and the wider community, and to move forward together.”

READ: City calls incident upsetting and unacceptable

AND: Investigation continues