Latest Act of Racism in Thunder Bay Prompts Indigenous Leadership to Speak Up

Published on July 12, 2018, the APTN News article “Former AFN regional chief says latest incident of racism in Thunder Bay needs a response” explains Ontario’s former regional chief of the Assembly of First Nations says leadership in the Thunder Bay region needs to “step the hell up and do something” after an Indigenous man was attacked at a bus station. Isadore Day took to social media to express his outrage over the latest incident of violence in the city where pictures posted on social media on Wednesday night showed an Indigenous man lying on the ground with a bloodied face. The post alleged he was “minding his own business” outside the Water Street bus terminal when a non-Indigenous person walked up to him and punched him.

This is one of the countless acts of racist violence in the city. Currently, the Thunder Bay Police Service is under investigation by the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (“OIPRD”) for systemic racism. The unprecedented investigation of the Thunder Bay Police Service was launched on November 3, 2016. The systemic review by Ontario’s police watchdog was prompted by complaints that the drowning death of Stacey DeBungee in 2015, was too quickly deemed non-criminal by police. Falconers LLP represents the DeBungee family and the Rainy River First Nations community.

Background: On October 19, 2015, Stacy DeBungee’s body was found in the McIntyre River, in Thunder Bay, ON. Within hours of the discovery of his body and before the autopsy was conducted, the Thunder Bay Police Service issued press releases ruling out foul play and declaring the death “non-criminal”. The OIPRD Report chronicles how police failed to take the most basic investigative steps such as protecting the scene, interviewing witnesses and seizing evidence. Leadership right up to the Chief of Police are identified and a trail of “organizational deficiencies” are laid out in the Report. 

In the News

Former AFN regional chief says latest incident of racism in Thunder Bay needs a response    APTN, June 12, 2018

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