Calgary police meetings with family of Latjor Tuel, South Sudanese community leaders leave some unsatisfied
Sudanese immigrant Latjor Tuel was shot and killed by police last month
Family members of a Sudanese man shot and killed by the Calgary Police Service (CPS) say they are "not in the mindset or position to move forward" following a meeting with CPS earlier this week.
In the meeting, Chief Mark Neufeld and other police officials expressed their condolences to the Sudanese community in Calgary and to the family of Latjor Tuel.
They also acknowledged that Tuel's death "represents a setback" to efforts to build trust between CPS and the Sudanese community.
Tuel was shot by police in Forest Lawn on Feb. 19 while he was in mental distress, and his death is under investigation by the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team.
Several calls were made to police that afternoon stating that Tuel had allegedly assaulted someone with a wooden stick and that he was carrying a knife.
Officers fired rubber bullets in an attempt to disarm the man, police said. Another officer used a taser on him as he approached them. Police say two officers fired their service weapons after Tuel stabbed a police dog in the neck with the knife.
Whether or not Tuel's killing was influenced by the colour of his skin, and whether police employed de-escalation techniques properly, are questions that members of Calgary's South Sudanese community have asked in the wake of his death.
His daughter, Nyalinglat Latjor, said in an online statement Wednesday that although the meeting was productive, her family was not satisfied with the results because they were asked to leave before the meeting with South Sudanese community leaders concluded.
"Anything that happened after the family was asked to leave is not approved by the immediate family of Latjor Tuel," she said. "We are … in no position to forgive or forget."
David Top, a Sudanese community leader and close friend of Tuel's, said the meeting with police went "okay."
He said leaders brought forward issues that relate to broken trust between the community and CPS, including racial profiling and police brutality against Black Canadians.
"We do not want to see the same thing repeated. And there should be no excuse that this kind of mistreatment and disrespect and all of this are not issues that the chief and all of the other members will not say were not brought to their attention," said Top.
"The family and the community are hurt, and the family and community are mourning right now."
Top added that he and the other community leaders are supportive of the family as they "try to get justice and accountability."
CPS declined an interview, but said in a statement that it is committed to rebuilding trust and confidence, and it hopes to redouble efforts to strengthen the relationship between the community and CPS.
With files from Karina Zapata