THUNDER BAY - Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief, Alvin Fiddler, is calling for answers from the Thunder Bay Police Service after a video surfaced on social media showing what appears to be an officer striking an Indigenous youth.
The video was shared to social media on Saturday and shows what appears to be a female officer with the Thunder Bay Police Service striking an individual who is strapped to a gurney.
“We are outraged by the actions of the officer depicted in this video,” Fiddler said in a media release issued by NAN. “We do not know all of the details that led to this incident, but there is simply no justification for such violent and callous treatment of a youth in a defenseless position.”
According to NAN, the person on the gurney in the video is a 17-year-old youth from Nibinamik First Nation and a student at the Matawa Learning Centre. It is not clear why the youth required medical attention.
A spokesperson with the Thunder Bay Police Service said the video is being investigated and NAN is questioning if the investigation will be independent of the police service.
“Such actions by the police, whatever the cause, must be fully independent authority and the results made public by the Chief of Police,” Fiddler said.
The release cites a long history of conflict between First Nations and the city’s police force, including calls for the resignation of former police chief, J.P. Levesque in the wake of a review by the Ontario Independent Police Review Director into the investigation of Stacey Debungee’s death in 2015.
It also referenced an ongoing systemic review by the OIPRD into the police services practices in policing Indigenous people and the ongoing investigation by the Ontario Civilian Police Commission into the Thunder Bay Police Services Board.