Father of teenager shot by Winnipeg police aims to keep justice top of mind

The father of a Winnipeg teenager who was shot and killed by police in April wants to make sure justice for Indigenous people is top of mind across the country.

William Hudson says police violence against Indigenous people 'a major issue' that needs to be fought for

A memorial for Eishia Hudson was set up on the corner of Lagimodiere Boulevard and Fermor Road, the intersection where the 16-year-old girl was shot and killed by police on April 10. (Travis Golby/CBC)

William Hudson crouched on the boulevard, lovingly affixing eagle feathers and bouquets of flowers to a wooden memorial bearing the image of his daughter, Eishia, who was shot by police four months ago.

On Saturday evening, Hudson gathered with family, friends and advocates at the corner of Lagimodiere Boulevard and Fermor Avenue, the area where Eishia was killed, for a round dance and vigil.

"It's tough, but we just have to keep fighting for our daughter," Hudson said.

The vigil Saturday was actually the second. Hudson says the City of Winnipeg had called months ago to ask the family to remove the memorial marker on the boulevard so construction could commence in the area.

In an email to CBC News, the city confirmed that it contacted Hudson's family earlier in the construction season and asked that they temporarily remove the memorial so it wouldn't be damaged during construction.

"Members of her family removed the memorial," the city stated in the email.

It added, "We recently notified the family to advise them that the memorial could go back up after August 24, and we let them know that in the event they needed help accessing the site or help moving the items, we could help facilitate that for them."

'This is a major issue': Hudson

Since Eishia's death, Hudson has held two large rallies calling for justice for Indigenous people in light of three Indigenous people being shot and killed by police in just over a week earlier this year.

Hudson hopes his speaking out will bring greater attention to what he feels is a grave injustice.

"This is a major issue that we're having — especially for three murders to be within 10 days in one city, and Winnipeg isn't a big city," he said.

Drummers sang at Eishia Hudson's vigil on Saturday. Others held signs and flags with messages reading 'Justice for Eishia' and 'Not another Indigenous life.' (Travis Golby/CBC)

None of the police officers involved in these three deaths face charges at this point, but Manitoba's police watchdog is investigating.

Since 2000, 28 people have been killed in encounters with police in Manitoba, according to an analysis by CBC News. Of those, 17 were Indigenous and about one-third happened in the last two years. 

"We should have justice," Hudson said. "This can't stand."

The vigil Saturday happened as protests calling out police violence against Black, Indigenous and people of colour (BIPOC) are growing in momentum across North America. Amid unrest in Kenosha, Wis., following the Aug. 23 police shooting of Jacob Blake, rallies have popped up in a number of cities.

The 29-year-old was shot by police in the back seven times as he attempted to enter his vehicle. He's now paralyzed.

In Toronto, protests were held on Saturday, just days after Ontario's Special Investigations Unit (SIU) cleared police officers of wrongdoing in the death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet. The 29-year-old died after falling from her 24th-floor apartment balcony while police were inside her home. 

Hudson says BIPOC are increasingly a target and "police brutality has got to stop."