Vancouver police officers did not attend Heilsook’s ceremony. | Whuff News


In the year The two Vancouver police officers who were reprimanded for mistakenly handcuffing a Heilsuk grandfather and grandson outside a Vancouver bank in 2019 will not be in Bella Bella for a pardon ceremony Monday.

The two arresting officers were Const. Canon Wong and Const. Mitchell Tong was invited to the parole ceremony earlier this year as part of an agreement reached with Vancouver police.


Click to play video: 'Heilsook man, grandson reach historic settlement with Vancouver Police Board'


A Heilsook man and his grandson have reached a historic settlement with the Vancouver Police Board


According to the Heilsuk nation, the forgiveness ceremony was reworked as an encouragement ceremony.

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“This behavior shows a greater lack of respect for indigenous cultural traditions, which is very disappointing given that the constables are immersing themselves in cultural competency training,” said Halesuk Chief Executive Marilyn Slate.

“It also raises bigger questions about systemic racism in policing.”

Maxwell Johnson, the grandfather who was jailed with his granddaughter Tori-Anne, said he was disappointed with the outcome.

“It’s very disappointing to get the news that the two officers can’t be here without any explanation,” he said.

“Because they choose not to approach us, we cannot fully turn our healing around now. It would be a great honor to have the police come here to look at home, to see what we do and how we do our culture.

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In a statement to Global News, Vancouver Police Board spokeswoman Faye Whitman said, “The board is a response to human rights issues, not individual inspectors.”

“It is important not to confuse the main elements of the settlement – and the difference between the universal reconciliation process through the human rights court settlement and the independent disciplinary process involving the officers.”

According to Whiteman, the board is meeting the terms of the human rights settlement both in terms and in the spirit of the agreement.

She said she could not say why the officers would not be there Monday. “We have made every effort to have the officers present as per the terms of the action,” she added.

Vancouver mayor-police board chair Ken Sim has sent a statement saying he will soon meet in Seattle to discuss strengthening government-to-government protocols.

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“ABC Vancouver is fully committed to supporting the inherent rights of all indigenous peoples and supports UNDRIP and the TRC’s calls to action. The ABC is committed to government-to-government dialogue with all First Nations, Sim said.

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Heltsuk customs do not allow people to stand in other places, so the forgiveness ceremony cannot take place until the people who caused the harm are present.

Slate described as “short-sighted” the Police Board’s statement that it was sufficient to have no police presence in Bella Bella.

“When the colonial institution wants to reconcile and create mutual reconciliation, it is a condition that they show respect for our customs and communicate directly with our communities,” said Slate.

This was intended to start a new relationship between the Heltsuk Nation, (Union of Indian Chiefs of BC) and the Vancouver Police Board. Respecting our culture is a continuation of previous police discrimination against indigenous peoples.

Maxwell Johnson and his granddaughter Tori-Ann In 2019, they reached a plea deal with Vancouver police after being arrested outside a bank in Vancouver.

A Montreal bank employee called police on the mistaken assumption that Johnson and his then 12-year-old grandson’s Indian status cards were fake.

& Copy 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.



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