- Concerns remain about how RCMP officers’ injuries or deaths are communicated to the public as Nunavut changes how police oversight works in the territory.
- The territory and the Ottawa Police Service have an agreement to investigate earnest police actions.
That was set to difference when Nunavut’s legislative group passed legislation establishing a civilian oversight body in June.
The bill is not yet in effect, according to a Justice Department spokesperson, but “officials… continue to work with other jurisdictions to develop partnerships in civilian oversight.”
The death of a 22-year-old Rankin Inlet man who was shot or killed by RCMP on November 6 is investigated by Ottawa police. According to them, this was the second case they were called in to explore in 2021.
It was the only one that was made public via a press release.
The second incident occurred on December 26, 2020, when an Iqaluit resident was arrested for mischief. Police were called to a residence to remove a person who was intoxicated and fighting.
The individual “sustained damages while in police custody in Iqaluit,” according to Amanda Jones, chief superintendent of the Nunavut RCMP, including a “scraped face and elbow and cut to their tongue.” while
Jones stated that the detachment commander learned of the incident on January 26 and requested an investigation from the Ottawa Police Service on February 9.
According to Jones, on April 7, Ottawa police “submitted their findings that the officer was acting in good faith, that the arrest was lawful, and that the injuries were not the result of a criminal act by the officer.”
Jones stated that the individual was not charged and was released once sober.
When asked why no information was made public, an Ottawa police spokesperson stated that the event “did not meet the threshold of a major incident as covered by the (memorandum of understanding) with the RCMP and the government of Nunavut.”
“As a result, there were no public communications,” the spokesperson explained.
According to Erick Laming, a criminology lecturer at Trent University in Peterborough, Ont. withholding information about serious actions that necessitate the involvement of a third party to investigate is detrimental to public trust.