Thunder Bay

Matawa Chiefs council 'not surprised' by OIPRD report on Thunder Bay Police Service

The Matawa Chiefs Council in northern Ontario says they are "not surprised" with the results of a probe by Ontario's civilian police watchdog who examined the Thunder Bay Police Service.

Chiefs of 9 First Nations 'wish to work with all parties' who will implement report's recommendations

The chiefs of the nine Matawa First Nations say they support the recommendation to reinvestigate the death of Jordan Wabasse, 15, from Webequie First Nation. (Matawa First Nations / Facebook)

The Matawa Chiefs Council in northern Ontario says they are "not surprised" with the results of a probe by Ontario's civilian police watchdog who examined the Thunder Bay Police Service and how the local force investigates the death and disappearance of Indigenous people.

On Wednesday, the 200-page-plus report was released, stating that there is a "crisis of trust" that exists between the local force and Indigenous communities.

The report also found "serious deficiencies" in dozens of death investigations by city police where Indigenous people were the victims and recommended that at least nine cases be re-opened.

On Thursday, the Matawa Chiefs issued a written response stating that they are "not surprised in the findings that were provided," and that they "support its recommendations."

"We see [the recommendations] as a positive step for our students and for their families who want to have a better degree of comfort in having their children reside in the city while receiving their education," the chiefs stated. "We wish to work with all parties who will implement them in a collaborative manner."

After a two-year probe by the OIPRD on the Thunder Bay Police Service, the results of the report were released on Wednesday, Dec. 12 stating that a "crisis of trust" exits between the police service and Indigenous communities. (CBC)

The chiefs acknowledged that the recommendations in the report "brings light to some hard issues" but they are confident that implementing them in "an expeditious manner" will put us "in a better place."

They also stated that they support the OIPRD's recommendation to re-investigate the case of 15-year-old Jordan Wabasse, whose body was discovered in the Kaministiqua River in 2011, so that his "family could receive the justice they felt they have been denied."

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