The province has confirmed it will hold a second coroner’s inquest into the death of an Indigenous person at the hands of New Brunswick police this year.
Department of Public Safety spokesperson Enos Coreen said Minister Carl Urquhart has ordered an inquest into the death of 48-year-old Rodney Levi, who was shot on June 12 by New Brunswick RCMP.
Police have said they received a report of an “unwanted person” at a home near Metepenagiag First Nation and upon arrival saw a man who was carrying knives, after which an officer shot him.
However, a New Brunswick pastor said Levi was a “welcomed guest” at his home the same evening and shared a meal with the pastor’s family.
Levi’s death came only a week after the death of 26-year-old Chantel Moore, of Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation.
Moore was shot and killed by an Edmundston police officer in her apartment on June 4 during a “wellness check.”
On June 12, the province announced a coroner’s inquest into her death.
Moore’s family welcomed the coroner’s inquest, but it will have to wait until the investigation being conducted by Quebec’s independent police watchdog has finished, which could take months.
Since then, calls for an inquiry into systemic racism in New Brunswick police have grown.
“A narrow investigation into this one tragic incident should go forward,” New Brunswick’s Wolastoqey chiefs said in a June statement. “But it should not delay a more important review into the systemic problems that plague the entire system.”
Premier Blaine Higgs has rejected calls to hold a provincial inquiry into how the legal and law enforcement systems have failed Indigenous people, saying the federal government should look at the issue on a national scale.
The Public Safety Department said the inquest into Levi’s death will be scheduled after all investigations and any potential court proceedings have been completed.
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