NAN Statement as Criminal Charges Laid Against Former Thunder Bay Police Chief, Lawyer

THUNDER BAY, ON: Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler and Deputy Grand Chief Anna Betty Achneepineskum have issued this response to criminal charges brought against former Thunder Bay Police Chief Sylvie Hauth and former Thunder Bay Police Service legal counsel:

“For years we have expressed serious concerns with the Thunder Bay Police Service and its ability to conduct competent death investigations, even to the point where we had to make a call for the disbandment of the Service. Those calls have been ignored, and we are faced with a situation where families who have lost loved ones are left with no recourse because they do not trust the work of the TBPS.

We are now in a climate in which a former Chief of Police and the service’s lawyer are facing charges for breach of trust by a public officer, obstruction of a public officer/or peace officer, and obstruction of justice. There is absolutely no trust whatsoever in the TBPS or its ability to conduct competent investigations into the deaths of Indigenous Peoples.
No investigative body, police or otherwise, can function unless it has the trust of the community and people it serves. Despite numerous reports, nothing has happened to enhance the public’s trust in the TBPS. In fact, the Thunder Bay public, and especially Indigenous people, now have even more reason not to trust the police.

We are disappointed that the current Chief of Police and the TBPS Board have failed to acknowledge the seriousness of this situation that we are now in. They continue to put the onus on the community to identify and solve systemic issues while failing to acknowledge the trauma experienced by our members and communities who have lost their loved ones without answers or credible investigations.

The issues plaguing the TBPS, and its Board are not resigned to history, or the result of a few bad apples. They stem from deep, systemic issues that are ongoing and have yet to be addressed.

There have been too many losses and too many tears. We cannot continue in this way. The utter absence of a credible investigative body to investigate the deaths of Indigenous peoples in the city cannot be ignored.”

NAN will refrain from making any additional comments until consulting with the families who have lost loved ones in Thunder Bay in recent months, the families whose losses are currently under re-investigation by the Ontario Provincial Police, and the leaders of their respective communities.

For more information please contact:
Michael Heintzman,
Director of Communications
Cell: (807) 621-2790

Looking for updates? Subscribe and we'll keep you posted
I'm interested in:
Invalid email address