Tag Archives: Saskatoon

Police Investigate Police in Saskatchewan Civilian Death (July 5, 2017)

Police in Saskatchewan investigate police. There is no independent civilian oversight body in the province despite ongoing calls from community advocates.

On July 5, 2017, officers of the Blaine Lake Saskatchewan RCMP allegedly responded to a call about a distraught man with a firearm in a rural area. Two officers encountered a man who they say discharged the weapon, resulting in a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The man was taken to hospital in Saskatoon and pronounced dead there. The Saskatchewan RCMP have requested an investigation into the death, which will be conducted by the Saskatoon Police Service.

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Austin Eaglechief (22) Dies After Being Shot by Saskatoon Police, Crashing Vehicle

On June 19, 2017, Saskatoon police shot 22-year-old Austin Eaglechief. The young man then crashed the vehicle he was driving into another vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy suggests the gunshot was not the cause of death but it does not speak to the part that being shot played in the fatal crash. A 33-year-old passenger was also injured in the crash. Critics of the police suggest that officers were too quick to shoot the young man. The Saskatoon police force has a history of racist treatment and violence against Indigenous people in the city and nearby locales.


Fatally Injured but Resisted Arrest? Serious Questions over Police Role in Death of Jordan Lafond (Indigenous Victims)

Jordan Bruce Lafond, a 21-year-old father of a small child, died one day after being taken into custody by Saskatoon police following a violent arrest on October 23, 2016. Several weeks later serious questions remain unanswered regarding the role of police violence in causing the young man’s death.

Jordan Lafond’s mother, Charmaine Dreaver is seeking answers to those questions in the face of general silence from Saskatoon police. In her words: “I just want and need the truth to be told,” (quoted in Markewich 2016). Family members have turned to the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations special investigations unit and the Chief of the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation to discuss possible steps forward.

Jordan Lafond was the passenger in a vehicle that crashed while being chased by police. The driver sustained minimal injuries and ran from the scene. He was later found and charged. Lafond was supposedly found beneath the rear of the vehicle. Police have claimed he was thrown from the vehicle during the crash and was not run over by any vehicle. .

Charmaine Dreaver notes her son showed real physical trauma. In her words: “My son was banged up pretty bad. His body showed signs of a lot of damage” (quoted in Markewich 2016). She has reported being left with a sense of unease and questioning since learning about her son’s injuries. This sense grew upon hearing that the other man in the vehicle who fled was not nearly as badly injured (Markewich 2016). As she recalls: “[That] made me feel that, OK, there’s something more to this” (quoted in Markewich 2016). Police have said that the injuries, including bruising and head trauma were caused by the collision (Markewich 2016). She asked immediately for an autopsy to be undertaken to receive some answers and clarification. She relates: “I was angered and I was so hurt because my son went through so much pain” (quoted in Markewich 2016).

Police have provided the questionable and apparently contradictory explanation that the supposedly fatally injured Lafond resisted arrest to such an extent that an officer felt compelled to use a knee to subdue him. This seems implausible given the supposed degree of injuries police suggest were sustained from the crash alone.

Dreaver finds the explanation questionable as well. She notes: “I almost felt that I was lied to, really, because I didn’t know. I wasn’t told about [it]” (quoted in Markewich 2016).

The autopsy was completed Wednesday, November 2 but results have not been released. Saskatoon Police Chief Clive Weighill has not given the public a timeline for release of the autopsy findings.

 

Further Reading

Markewich, Courtney. 2016. “‘Something More to This’: Saskatoon Mother Seeks Answers in Death of Son Taken into Custody.” CBC News. November 4. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/jordan-lafond-mother-seeks-answers-1.3837678


Investigation into Saskatoon Police Role in Death of Bruce Lafond (Indigenous Victims)

On October 23, 2016, Jordan Bruce Lafond (21) died after police used physical force to arrest him. The victim was in a vehicle that crashed while chased by police. It is reported that Lafond was thrown from the truck. An officer used a knee to subdue the stricken youth. Lafond was taken to hospital after being arrested. He died there the next day.

An autopsy was carried out Wednesday, November 2, but the Saskatoon Police Service is not saying when details of the autopsy would be available. The Police Service reports there is some video of the incident but they have not released it to the public and claim that it is too dark to make anything out. This has not been independently confirmed.

The investigation into Lafond’s death will be undertaken by the Saskatoon Police Service which gives no sense that it will be a thorough or reliable investigation, as police examine police. Jordan Bruce Lafond’s family, along with the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations special investigations unit, has met with Saskatoon Police Chief Clive Weighill to discuss the incident and investigation. In the meantime the officer involved has been reassigned to administrative duties while the examination is carried out.