NL Gazette

RNC chief says systemic racism is not present within the police force

Nfld and Labrador

Key takeaways: 

  • Pat Roche says he hasn’t read the Indigenous association’s statement.
  • Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Chief Pat Roche states systemic racism does not live within the local police force. 

Following civilian information summarizing Indigenous citizens’ lack of faith in the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, the police force’s chief supports his officers.

Chief Pat Roche replied Wednesday to two reports this week — one from St. John’s-based Indigenous advocacy group First Voice and an independent workplace study by Toronto lawyer Harriet Lewis.

The First Voice draft statement — the final report is anticipated in the fall — found a gaping hole in police responsibility in Newfoundland and Labrador and years of illustrations that show the region’s urban Indigenous population’s lack of belief in provincial police.

But Roche said Wednesday there’s no systemic discrimination in the RNC. “I don’t think there is, and I’ll leave it at that,” he stated.

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Following civilian information summarizing Indigenous citizens’ lack of faith in the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, the police force’s chief supports his officers

But Roche also said — twice — that he has not read the First Voice report, and it wouldn’t be “right” for him to comment. 

It’s a situation that isn’t unusual in Newfoundland and Labrador; it grows Canada-wide and is managed at the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, which gave its report in 2019.

In a recent discussion with CBC News, Catherine Fagan, co-chair of the First Voice Working Group on Police Oversight, said the investigation determined “the failure of the police to save Indigenous people, particularly Indigenous women and girls.”

The investigation also discussed systemic issues in policing that need to be handled instantly, stated Fagan, including encouraging regions to make Indigenous oversight bodies that monitor probes into any case concerning an Indigenous person and train officers in cultural sensitivity and racial bigotry. But as far as First Voice understands, she said, no such body is in the works for Newfoundland and Labrador.

Source – CBC News

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