Police brutality in Unamen Shipu: AFNQL is calling upon the Federal and Provincial Ministers of Public Safety

WENDAKE, QC, July 17, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - "In my community we are a peace-loving people, and as Chief of Unamen Shipu, I do not accept that my population be treated in this manner. Our elders are frightened, and our youths and women are terrified by police brutality. That has to stop now. Our policing services must be restored very quickly." Chief Raymond Bellefleur is outraged and denounces the police brutality to which his community is falling victim, as seen in the video on the news and on the social networks.

"In the Algonquin community of Lac Simon, our police force is constantly threatened by decisions of the two governments. Our people, especially our women, don't want our police force to come to an end and they are afraid of police brutality. As Chief of my community, I will pursue my efforts to make sure my community is safe and served by police officers who understand our reality", stated Chief Salomé McKenzie; she too, is outraged by what happened in Unamen Shipu.

"Police brutality is always condemnable, never justifiable. If we can create conditions that are instrumental in promoting better relations between First Nation citizens and the police, why persist in not doing so? Today, I am calling upon Federal Minister of Public Safety, Steven Blaney, and Provincial Minister, Stéphane Bergeron, to engage promptly in restoring the First Nation policing services in all the communities which had to shut down as a result of recent decisions taken by their respective ministries", stated Chief Ghislain Picard.

Several First Nation police forces, including the one in Unamen Shipu, recently had to shut down. In such circumstances, Sûreté du Québec has to take over. The failure of the Federal and Provincial Ministries of Public Safety to harmonize their policies and to collaborate has often been denounced by many chiefs and by the AFNQL as a leading cause of the closure or the major problems faced by the policing services of our communities.

"We met just recently with Minister Stéphane Bergeron. His Ministry has given a firm and binding commitment towards the restoration of our First Nation police forces, which are better able to serve our populations. Up until now, the federal department has said nothing of the sort, and has not been easily accessible. I rely on the new Federal Minister of Public Safety, Steven Blaney, who fully understands the First Nations of our territories, to engage himself in the restoration of our policing services, and rapidly", concluded Chief Ghislain Picard.

About the AFNQL
The Assembly of the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador is the political organization regrouping 43 Chief of the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador. www.apnql-afnql.com.

SOURCE: Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador

For further information:

Mélanie Vincent (melanievincent21@yahoo.ca)
Cell.: 418-580-4442


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