Photo submitted by Frank Collins
Chief Moody Stresses Concerns Over Violent Incident Involving Officers of the Saskatoon Police Service
As you may have heard, NCN Citizen Evan Penner was involved in a violent incident with Saskatoon police officers on Saturday, July 4. We are looking carefully into this incident and ensuring the family is assisted, the facts are known and justice is upheld. The well being of our Citizens is our priority.
Six officers were called to an apartment building where Evan was cooling himself off outside with a hose. It was the second time that day the police had contact with him. This time, their interaction became violent, and it was captured on film by a man who lived next door. The police punched Evan several times. They used pepper spray and a taser on him.
He was taken to the police station, where he was charged with assaulting and disarming a police officer, mischief and possession of a controlled substance. The officer who led the violent arrest has been placed on leave while the incident is reviewed.
I am worried about Evan and his well-being, and I am alarmed and enraged by this most recent incident of police brutality.
Indigenous people have faced generations of systemic and personal racism from RCMP and police officers. We hear that current administrations are working to change things, but it is difficult to believe when we hear about these occurrences over and over. It is difficult to trust law enforcement and collaborate with them for a better future.
This incident is proof to me that Canada’s current policing system is broken. So often these violent interactions are the result of addictions, homelessness and utter hopelessness. The victims of excessive police force don’t always need to be subdued, but they do always need to be supported.
We want to see a significant overhaul of the RCMP and police systems to create a true culture of serve and protect, not aggravate and assault. Rather than escalating to violence, we want to see situations diffused. This includes everything from improved training in de-escalation and restraint methods to proper third-party channels for reviews and accountability.
This latest case of police brutality against Indigenous people is another call to sovereignty and self-governance. When we are able to create our own law enforcement with our own accountable police forces, these violent acts will be replaced by de-escalation, corrective support and remedial services. NCN Council and I continue to work toward turning this dream into a reality for our next seven generations.
Currently, we are fortunate to have a good working relationship with our local RCMP. I encourage all Citizens to remember the good things they do for our community, such as the bike rodeo, fishing derby, and tracking illegal activities such as bootlegging and drug running.
Your councillors and I have had a relationship with Evan and his family in the past, and we have been in touch with them since this incident to provide financial support and other resources. We take his safety, and the security of every NCN Citizen, very seriously.
Chief Marcel Moody, Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation