Outrage as prosecution stays manslaughter charges against RCMP in death of First Nations man

Monday, April 8th, 2024 9:18am


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BC Assembly of First Nations’ Regional Chief Terry Teegee, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, and Hugh Braker, First Nations Summit’s Political Executive.
Press Statement from the First Nations Leadership Council

The First Nations Leadership Council (FNLC) is furious at the BC Prosecution Service’s (BCPS) decision to stay manslaughter charges against constables Paul Ste-Marie and Jean Francois Monette, RCMP officers involved in the arrest and death of Dale Culver in Prince George on July 18, 2017.

Related: https://windspeaker.com/news/windspeaker-news/court-proceeding-rcmp-off…

“The spark of hope I had for a new direction in policing and the justice system has been extinguished with the announcement to stay manslaughter charges against these two RCMP officers. The lack of transparency, the time it took to process this case, and the failure to deliver justice have left us all frustrated and bereft. The situation highlights the need for thorough and culturally sensitive investigations that prioritize the well-being and rights of First Nations, especially in encounters with law enforcement,” stated Regional Chief Terry Teegee, BC Assembly of First Nations. 

“It is categorically unacceptable that Dale Culver’s family and community will not see justice for the loss of their loved one. Once again, the justice system has let First Nations people down as it fails to move this case forward to trial, and I question the ability of the current system to deliver justice in a fair and equitable manner. Becoming a police officer does not come with a license to kill with no repercussions. Today’s decision alarmingly conveys the message that First Nations lives are disposable, as well as adding to the abhorrent and grim statistics of First Nations people killed by the RCMP,” remarked Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.

“We demand change, and we demand justice for Dale. BC Attorney General Niki Sharma and BC Solicitor General Mike Farnworth owe the First Nations people of BC, especially Dale Culer’s family, an explanation. The family has been flagging problems with the justice system procedures for years as they closely followed the criminal cases of the RCMP officers involved in his arrest and death. The family’s anguish and continued quest for justice highlight the need for a more responsive and culturally aware approach to addressing such tragedies within the fractured justice system. The First Nations people of BC have lost faith in the justice system and it is time to address the root causes of the disproportionate injustices faced by First Nations people and communities,” concluded Hugh Braker, First Nations Summit’s Political Executive. 

An independent review by the BC Civil Liberties Association in 2019 found ‘reasonable grounds’ to believe two officers may have committed offences related to the use of force and three others may have obstructed justice.

35-year-old Dale Culver was a father of three and a member of the Wet’suwet’en and Gitxsan First Nations.