First Nations leaders meet over concerns into police investigation into Prince Rupert man’s death

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Published on May 3, 2013

PRINCE RUPERT, B.C. — Grieving Prince Rupert-area aboriginal families meet with legal and First Nations representatives in Prince Rupert to share concerns about the adequacy of police investigations into their loved ones’ deaths.

Photo Credit: Jason Payne/PNG. Grand Chief Stewart Phillip. Phillip and other First Nations leaders are meeting in Prince Rupert to discuss unsolved murders and how the police are handling their investigations.

Union of BC Indian Chiefs leaders and representatives of the BC Civil Liberties Association and an aboriginal justice group are taking part in Friday’s meetings.

UBCIC Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the relationship between many First Nations communities and the RCMP is broken and aboriginals feels they may not receive fair treatment from police.

The meetings were called in the wake of the March 4 death of 21-year-old Justin Brooks, whose body was found floating off the Prince Rupert waterfront.

Relatives say Mounties have suggested Brooks committed suicide or fell into the water and drowned, but the family adds that officers have not accounted for his bloody clothes, investigated if his death was linked to a fight earlier in the evening, or offered any explanation for how he ended up in the water.

Representatives of the BCCLA will also seek a meeting with local RCMP and will attend a Saturday evening vigil, at Waterfront Park in Prince Rupert, to honour the victims.

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