Coroner’s jury hears evidence in inquest into police shooting of Indigenous N.B. man
By Canadian Press
By Canadian Press
Sept. 29, 2021 – A five-member coroner’s jury is beginning to hear evidence today at an inquest into the police killing last year of an Indigenous man in New Brunswick.
Rodney Levi, who was from the Metepenagiag First Nation, was shot dead by the RCMP on the evening of June 12, 2020 after police responded to a complaint about a disturbance in a home in Sunny Corner, N.B.
The shooting was investigated by Quebec’s police watchdog, the Bureau des enquetes independantes, which submitted a report to New Brunswick prosecutors in December.
A statement at the time from the provincial prosecutions service said it was clear the officers on the scene believed Levi was using force against them, and he was shot to protect themselves and civilians who were present.
Police had allegedly tried to subdue Levi three times using an electroshock weapon before they shot him twice. An autopsy confirmed Levi had amphetamine and methamphetamine in his body at the time of the shooting.
Coroner John Evans said Tuesday he expects to hear from about 27 witnesses between now and Thursday of next week.
“It’s a fact-finding mission … so the public will know what exactly happened,” he told reporters. “You are going to hear from the people who were present when this event happened, which include some members of the RCMP. You’re also going to hear from the pathologist and toxicologist and so on.”
He said the inquest would also hear evidence concerning the issue of training and the crisis intervention model used by the RCMP.
Of the two-man three-woman jury, Evans said two members are Indigenous and another is married into an Indigenous family. “Having a jury with gender balance and cultural balance I think is going to be very, very helpful,” he said.
Levi’s sister, Rhoda Levi, said she was pleased with the jury selection.
A coroner’s inquest does not assign blame but does produce recommendations intended to help prevent a death under similar circumstances in the future. Levi said she hopes the government will act on the recommendations.
“I hope that the government does everything it can to implement so that no one else is shot and killed by the RCMP,” she said.
Levi’s killing came days after an Edmundston, N.B., police officer shot and killed Chantel Moore, a 26-year-old Indigenous woman, during a wellness check. The two killings sparked anger in the province’s Indigenous community.