Rodney Levi's family asks Quebec investigators to hand over their report on his fatal shooting
Niece says the pain of a first Christmas without “Uncle Buck” was aggravated by not having answers
Becky Levi says her Uncle Rodney lived with her for years and was just like a child at Christmas.
"He loved to play toys with my kids," said Levi from her home in Red Bank. "Numerous times, my five–year–old son has said, 'Mom, if Uncle Buck was still alive, he would be playing cards with me."
Levi, 34, who was brought up Catholic, had been steeling herself for a difficult holiday.
But, she wasn't prepared for what happened Christmas Eve.
That's when the Quebec agency tasked with investigating how the RCMP ended up tasering her uncle before shooting him dead, issued a release that its work was done.
According to the news release, a final report had been submitted Dec. 16 to New Brunswick's public prosecutions branch and the coroner assigned to the case.
The family got nothing but more pain.
"The unknown is angering, maddening, frustrating and hurtful," said Becky Levi.
"We don't know that much about the law but we do want that report."
"We want to be the first to know. We want to be able to tell our family before they hear of it through social media because that's how a lot of our family members found out that my uncle was shot and killed."
Levi says one of the things she'd like to know is the identity of the Mountie who ended up pulling his firearm. She says nobody in the community knows the officer's status or whereabouts.
"We have no idea. Is he still here or was he sent away?" she asks.
Lawyer says request acknowledged
The family's lawyer said she has asked the Bureau des Enquêtes Indépendantes, or the BEI Quebec, to release the report to the family, including all the evidence that investigators relied upon.
"It's really quite important that the [family] be given the respect and the courtesy of [having] the information and the thoughtful analysis of what happened to their loved one," said Alisa Lombard.
"When he died, how he died and what happened after he died ... and what happened immediately prior to when he died."
Lombard says she's troubled about the lack of attention to the seriousness of what happened in the summer of 2020, including Levi's death on June 12 and the June 4 fatal shooting of Chantel Moore by the Edmundston police.
Moore was a 26-year-old mother from Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation in BC.
Levi, 48, was a member of the Metepenagiag First Nation.
"We have two Indigenous people who were shot to death in circumstances that are not clear. That's not to say I'm reaching a conclusion or taking any particular side. Again, because we don't know."
"But the circumstances surrounding those shootings, or at least Mr. Levi's shooting, is really shrouded in opaqueness and a lack of information."
The Office of the Attorney General said in a statement that the public prosecution service would take several weeks to thoroughly review the findings of the BEI report to determine what should happen next.
Lombard speculates that they're using the time to weigh the likelihood of a conviction.
"Do we think we can convict this person and do we have strong enough evidence to do so in a way we can prove any particular charge," said Lombard. "Prosecutorial discretion is not something that everyone gets to see or understand."
When asked if the family would release the report to the public if the documents are provided to them, Lombard said that's something the family would have to discuss.
"It's very difficult to anticipate without knowing what's in that report," she said.
"As far as the public is concerned, if the public is interested in knowing what happened, then I believe it's incumbent upon the public to push for those answers and to reach out to their politicians and do the work that they have to do to demand the kind of accountability that people deserve."
Lombard says the BEI Quebec did acknowledge her request for the report but has yet to give its answer.