New Brunswick

'This has to stop': Indigenous artist calls for change after police shooting

As the investigation into the fatal police shooting of Rodney Levi continues, there are expressions anger and disbelief from those who knew him in Metepenagiag First Nation.

Investigation continues into Friday's shooting of Rodney Levi

Pauline Young said it's a scary time after police shootings of an Indigenous man and woman in New Brunswick about a week apart. (Radio Canada)

As the investigation into the fatal police shooting of Rodney Levi continues, there are expressions of anger and disbelief from those who knew him in Metepenagiag First Nation.

With tears running down her face, Indigenous artist Pauline Young said: "They shot an Indian. My blood," as she pointed to an RCMP cruiser sitting in the roadway. 

Levi, 48, was shot by a member of the Sunny Corner RCMP Friday night after responding to a call for an unwanted person at an address on Boom Road. 

RCMP said police were confronted by a man who was carrying knives. A stun gun was deployed several times but was unsuccessful. A member of the RCMP discharged a firearm. 

"Our ancestors fought for us to be living in a free country where we can live in peace and this is what we get," said Young. 

You can't do that. We are people. People that love us, we have family.- Pauline Young

She said no one is trying to understand. 

"You can't go into a situation and then kill us," said Young, 

"You can't do that. We are people. People that love us, we have family. This has to stop." 

Levi's death comes about a week after Chantel Moore was shot by a member of the Edmundston Police Force while on a wellness check. Police say Moore had threatened the officer with a knife. 

Both police shootings are being investigated by the Quebec's Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes, that province's police watchdog agency. 

Rodney Levi, a member of the Metepenagiag First Nation, was shot by a member of the Sunny Corner RCMP during an incident in Boom Road, N.B. He later died of his injuries in hospital. (Facebook )

Asked about that, Young responded: "I don't know. This is scary. This is very scary. It's getting worse and worse." 

Young said she is processing all that has happened and is trying to be rational, She said she is thinking about how she can help in a positive way. 

Young said the area, which includes two First Nation communities in close proximity, should have more Mi'kmaq-speaking officers. 

Pauline Young said her community needs comfort and promises of change. (Radio Canada)

If there's a stressful situation, we need a first responder, a critical team to go in if it's an Indigenous person or a person of colour.

"We can't be afraid of the police." 

Meanwhile, Brodie MacLeod, lead pastor at the Boom Road Pentecostal Church, offered his sympathy to all involved and to the Metepenagiag First Nation in a Facebook post Sunday morning.

Metepenagiag Chief Bill Ward has said that the shooting happened after Levi visited a church minister looking for guidance. 

"It's been a traumatic time," MacLeod said, adding the church would release an official statement later in the day. "We've been co-operating with the authorities."

 

With files from Michele Brideau, Radio Canada

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