Chantel Moore's mother sues Edmundston police officer who shot her Indigenous daughter
Martha Martin's statement of claim calls actions of officer and city 'reckless, cavalier'
The mother of Chantel Moore is suing the police officer who fatally shot the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman during a wellness check.
Chantel Moore, 26, was shot and killed by Edmundston Const. Jeremy Son on June 4, 2020, when he was dispatched to her apartment to check on her well-being. Moore came toward Son with a knife on the balcony of the apartment, and he fired four shots, which he's said were in self-defence.
Moore's mother, Martha Martin, filed a statement of claim Thursday on behalf of herself, Moore's seven-year-old daughter, Gracie, and Moore's estate. The City of Edmundston, Son's employer, is also named in the suit.
The statement of claim alleges the city failed to adequately train its officers to safely respond to wellness checks, especially to ones where an Indigenous person is involved.
It alleges Son neglected his duties and "grossly demonstrated significant errors in judgment and analysis throughout the wellness check, leading to the death of the late Chantel Moore."
The lawsuit claims negligence and asks for general damages for grief, suffering and the loss of companionship. Martin also wants the courts to grant punitive damages to compensate for Moore's death "as a result of the reckless, cavalier and needless actions of the defendants," among other damages.
None of the allegations in the statement of claim have been tested in court.
In the statement of claim, Martin lays out developments on June 4 to support her claim.
Son and another officer were sent to check on Moore, the claim says. When the officers arrived, Moore was asleep, and answered the door "several minutes," after, it says.
"Upon Moore opening the door, there was an altercation which resulted in the Defendant Son discharging his firearm several times and fatally shooting Moore."
The claim alleges the negligence by the city included not providing adequate training to police officers when it comes to wellness checks, high risk proceedings, procedures involving Indigenous people, the use of a Taser and proper use of force.
It alleged the city also did not supervise and evaluate Son to ensure his competence.
Son's alleged negligence includes use of excessive force "given the circumstances of the moment," not having a plan for wellness checks, and directing a police operation without ensuring life and safety were protected.
It also alleges Son should have had a Taser, but did not, which led to Moore being fatally shot.
No criminal charges
The Public Prosecutions Service of New Brunswick previously said it would not lay criminal charges against Son because the evidence shows no "reasonable prospect of conviction."
Prosecutors found Son "did believe, on reasonable grounds, that force or a threat of force was being used against him by Ms. Moore," that day.
The lawsuit came as a coroner's inquest was taking place into what happened on June 4. An inquest is a process that does not lay blame but attempts to prevent a similar death from happening in the future.
On Tuesday, Martin's lawyer, T.J. Burke, announced that he would be filing the suit, which he said was separate from the inquest.