Indigenous leaders are outraged and a Winnipeg family is heartbroken after a report from police watchdogs decided to not recommend charges against an officer who shot and killed a 16-year-old.
The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC), NDP Justice Critic Nahanni Fontaine, and the family of Eishia Hudson are calling for a Public Inquiry into the teen's death. Winnipeg Police Chief Danny Smyth says the Medical Examiner will make a call for an Inquest into her death.
A recent report from Manitoba's Independent Investigation Unit (IIU) regarding the death of Eishia Hudson concluded stating the investigation is closing and there is no recommendation to lay criminal charges against the officer who shot Hudson.
William Hudson, Eisha's father, quickly broke into tears at the podium during a press conference.
"I tried to pray and hope for the best but also prepare myself for the worst but as a parent, you can never prepare yourself for this," William says.
He is angry that IIU's investigation ended without charges, but expected it.
"I try, and we try and all of our community as Indigenous and other, we try to bring justice to everything that is going on. When a young officer who just came onto the force can get away with this, what does that show our people?
The father is unsatisfied with IIU's conclusion. He says the report was white-washed and racist towards Indigenous people.
William, as well as AMC Grand Chief Arlen Dumas feel the report was one-sided and full of inconsistencies. They say this is due to systemic racism.
IIU's director, Zane Tessler, says that the inconsistencies indicate the witnesses were being truthful.
"I find various aspects of the report problematic," Dumas says, saying he feels there are issues with the witness statements. "Those inconsistencies are not being taken into account and they are actually being hived off and other people's statements are being taken as fact when there is actually inconsistencies in all of the statements.
NDP Justice Critic Nahanni Fontaine is asking for several things, including an independent assessment of the report's findings and the Medical Examiner to review the death. Fontaine says the Winnipeg Police Service comes into contact with the Indigenous community daily and is asking for an expeditious inquest into the WPS. Fontaine says the support of a public injury needs to be called by either Premier Brian Pallister or Justice Minister Cameron Friesen.
Winnipeg Police Service Chief Danny Smyth says Medical Examiner will call for an Inquest in the near future to have a broader look at the circumstances that lead to Eishia’s death, as well as ways to prevent similar situations from happening in the future.
"Eishia Hudson’s death was tragic. Let’s not forget Eishia Hudson was a teenager. A lot of people cared about her; I want to acknowledge her family and friends. On that day, Eishia got caught up with a bunch of kids in a stolen vehicle, and things escalated. A lot of people were put in harm’s way, including the kids in the stolen vehicle, innocent bystanders that worked in the liquor store or happened to be in traffic, and the police officers who were trying to intervene," Smyth says.
He says the split-second decision was to prevent the scenario from getting worse, saying he would have liked the outcome to have been different.