Seems our neck of the woods made the news.
[quote]Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Police truck runs over woman
Tachie Reserve resident in serious condition at PGRH
by FRANK PEEBLES Citizen staff
Police confirm a 23-year-old woman was run over by the back wheel of an RCMP vehicle Sunday morning on the Tachie Reserve as it was fleeing a large house party where partygoers allegedly became aggressive towards police.
Agatha Joseph is in serious condition in Prince George Regional Hospital with hip fractures, broken ribs, a punctured lung and a serious injury to her left eye and head.
Her cousin Harvey Felix Jr., also 23, was also allegedly struck by a police vehicle just before she was, but that has not been confirmed by police.
“There was a wedding going on,” said Paul Felix, uncle to both youths. “The RCMP was driving around with no headlights on … He struck Harvey first, a group went after the police, and as the police tried to take off in their trucks, he struck Agatha.”
Police confirm their attendance at the wedding party at about 1:30 a.m., intending to target impaired drivers.
“There was number of intoxicated persons and one person attempted to leave in a vehicle,” said Staff Sgt. John Ward of RCMP E Division Headquarters in Vancouver. “The members were trying to stop the vehicle. A number of the partygoers blocked their path and were very aggressive towards them, throwing rocks and bottles. The members determined they should leave the area and as they were attempting to do that, a crowd formed close to the police truck.”
A member in one police vehicle witnessed the running over of Joseph as they attempted to depart the scene, Ward said, and radioed that message to the member in the police vehicle ahead of him. The officer driving that lead vehicle was unaware that anyone had come into contact with his vehicle. “(He) is certain Joseph was not struck by the police vehicle … What has to be determined is how she came to be under the rear wheel.”
Ward said all officers involved immediately stopped to help Joseph, but were prevented by the mob.
“The crowd was even more aggressive,” Ward said. “Realizing they weren’t going to be able to provide assistance, they repositioned themselves out of harm’s way and let ambulance paramedics attend.”
Ward said he was informed by Fort St. James police that they did not attend the party without headlights.
But Felix insists there were no lights. “He’s been driving around like that for a long time. He’s been reported before, but he keeps doing it, all the time.”
Ward said police were not aware of suggestions Felix had also been injured by a police vehicle in the incident.
Felix’s mother, Bertha Felix, spoke for her son, saying she was not there to see the incident, but she was under the impression from others that the collision had occurred, causing facial injuries to the young man allegedly from the passing mirror of the vehicle.
“There are cops from out of town around here right now, they are over at the justice office. They tried to get me to make a statement, but I didn’t see any band councillor or chief around, and our lawyer wasn’t with me so I didn’t give them any statements at all,” said Bertha Felix. “Our community is in deep stress right now. We don’t want to hold anything against that cop; we all make mistakes. I learned in our territory to respect the other side, the other people involved, because the Lord Jesus died for me and for them. I don’t hold anything against that cop even if he did hit my son with the car but I can’t say he did. I love my son, but I don’t want to take anybody’s side. I just want to get it over and done with.”
Ward said two investigations are now underway: one focusing on the conduct of the members of the mob, the other focusing on the conduct of the officers involved. The internal investigation will be conducted by North District headquarters in Prince George.
Â©Copyright 2006 Prince George Citizen [/quote]
[quote]Reserve furious over accident
by FRANK PEEBLES Citizen staff
Residents of the Tachie Reserve near Fort St. James are “not in a good mood,” according to Tl’azt’en Nation leaders, following a weekend accident involving an RCMP vehicle and a young Tachie woman.
Chief Thomas Alexis said there is an element of mistrust of the RCMP and it has been there since long before the police vehicle ran over Agatha Joseph early Sunday morning, causing injuries including broken ribs, a punctured lung, hip fractures and injuries to her head and left eye.
Alexis also stresses, however, that there is also an element of the community that supports the efforts of the RCMP to protect the community, sometimes in difficult circumstances.
“What we are trying to ensure is we don’t bias the investigation,” he said. “As leadership, we called a meeting with the RCMP as soon as the incident came to our knowledge. That meeting happened at 8 o’clock sharp on Monday morning. Together we came up with the next steps on how to deal with the investigation. One of them was to have two teams of investigators to flesh out the true story. Once the investigation happens we need to call a community meeting and then also look at dealing with things through our justice circle to flush out the true feelings of our membership.”
Justa Monk, Tl’azt’en elder and former chief, is helping the family of Joseph obtain legal counsel. Monk is also Joseph’s uncle. She was the one who, Sunday about 1:30 a.m., was struck by a police vehicle attending a wedding reception in Tachie. Reports of what happened that night are conflicting.
Monk contends that “a lot of the statements made by police are false.”
RCMP provincial spokesperson Staff Sgt. John Ward said police are as eager as anyone in Tachie to get to the bottom of what happened, and any misconduct would be dealt with appropriately.
“It not only hits home with the community, and don’t forget we are part of the community there, but we have a young woman who was seriously injured and a young member who carries the weight of that, whether it was his fault or not,” Ward said.
“We have been briefing (Tl’azt’en) leadership on the progress of our investigation, we have the support of the chief and council in our investigations, and we are accountable. We want to do a thorough investigation that is open and transparent so the facts can speak for themselves.”
The issue of trust runs both ways, Ward said. Witnesses are being called for and many have already been interviewed about what happened that night. He said police have to trust in the honesty of those accounts, and the community at large has to trust in the resolve of the police to do the right thing with that information.
“We can certainly be very transparent because it is not just us analyzing our own practices,” Ward said. He also said that if anyone involved did not approve of the investigation process or the end result, there were a number of ways to formally appeal that are outside the RCMP.
“The RCMP enjoys a great level of trust by the community. It is earned. It is not something that is given to you,” Ward said.
Alexis said a community meeting should be held sooner rather than later, but not while emotions are still raw and the information is still piecemeal.
“It is not anticipated for this month, that’s for sure,” he said. “Maybe sometime in early September when everything has settled down a little bit . . . and we can talk about what we can do and policies toward small-town policing.”
Â©Copyright 2006 Prince George Citizen [/quote]
The story also made CTV news for 2 days. The version telling of cops speeding through the rez with their lights off, knocking people over like bowling pins is rampant about town. Watching the moron RCMP spokesperson refer to “in Tachie Lake” two nights in a row didn’t earn any brownie points either, nor did the TV reports saying “IN Fort St. James”. It’s Tache (ta-chay), part of Tlaz’ten Nation on Stuart Lake, about 50 klicks up the lake from town.
At any rate, this puts a hell of a dent in all the work that’s been accomplished in the last 10 years in Tache.