Lawyer wants change to Manitoba police watchdog investigations
A file image of the Winnipeg Police Service taken on Dec. 24, 2019. (Source: CTV News Winnipeg)
WINNIPEG -- One lawyer is calling for changes to Manitoba’s police watchdog investigations after it released the results of its investigation into the death of Eishia Hudson.
Hudson was killed last April when a Winnipeg police officer shot the 16-year-old Indigenous girl.
Officers said the incident began after an alleged theft at a Liquor Mart in Sage Creek.
The situation then escalated when multiple suspects inside a stolen vehicle tried to escape pursuing officers, according to police. This led to a chase that ended at Lagimodiere Boulevard and Fermor Avenue where an officer fired his gun twice at the driver, who was later identified as Hudson.
She was taken to hospital where she died from her injuries.
On Thursday, the Independent Investigation Unit (IIU) said it determined that criminal charges should not be filed against the officer.
Lawyer Corey Shefman, who works for Olthuis Kleer Townshend LLP, said the watchdog’s investigation process is flawed, lacks transparency, and doesn’t involve Indigenous insight.
Shefman noted that when an officer is involved in a killing, they are not required to be interviewed by IIU investigators.
“Police officers, people who are able to use lethal force, should be held to a higher standard of behaviour than everyone else,” Shefman said.
“What was happening here is they’re being held to a lower standard of conduct. They’re not even being brought in for an interview.
“So when you talk about accountability, when you talk about transparency, this was really the opposite of that.”
Shefman said 66 per cent of the people killed by Winnipeg police officers are Indigenous.
- With files from CTV’s Danton Unger.