Justice (25-42): Current Problems

Prince Albert Police

March 2, 2022

Systemic Racism in Policing

Call for investigation into Prince Albert Police Service over death of Indigenous infant

The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN), Prince Albert Grand Council (PAGC), and Thunderchild First Nation – are calling for a Coroner’s Inquest and an immediate intervention from the Ministry of Corrections and Public Safety of the Prince Albert Police Service (PAPS). We are also calling for an independent investigation into the conduct of the PAPS and the immediate termination of two police officers, one sergeant, and the Chief of Police, following what could have been a preventable death of a First Nations infant on February 10th, 2022. Our deepest sympathies and prayers go out to the families mourning the tragic death of 13-month-old Tanner Brass.

On February 11th, 2022, the PAPS issued a statement explaining that a 13-month-old baby was the victim of a homicide. The media release further indicated that the police had responded to that same address earlier and arrested someone. They returned a few hours later after a man called police and reported that he murdered his baby. That man has since been charged.

Through our own investigation, we have determined that there are grave concerns regarding gross negligence and/or criminal negligence and systemic racism on behalf of the PAPS, in connection to this infant death. This young mother was fleeing from a domestic violence situation. When officers arrived, they assumed her fear was alcohol related and arrested her for intoxication, ignoring her pleas for help. There was no welfare check performed on Baby Tanner, nor was the Ministry of Social Services brought in for Baby Tanner’s protection.

We are deeply troubled by how this situation was handled by PAPS and that the death of Baby Tanner could have been prevented. Mobile Crisis should have been called to accompany them to make sure the child was safe. Supports should have also been given to the mother where her and her baby could have been taken to a safe shelter. What should have been basic policies and procedures that help to protect our vulnerable people in danger were completely disregarded by PAPS, and we are demanding to know why.”

“This woman was treated differently because she was First Nations. She wasn’t believed by these officers when she said she and her baby were in danger

“The actions of PAPS are clear violations of the legal imperatives connected with the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions Calls to Action. We believe that the responsibility neglected by the PAPS is discriminatory and we will not rest until drastic, immediate changes are made” says FSIN Vice Chief Heather Bear. “This young mother is vulnerable and mourning the tragic death of her child and she still doesn’t know how her child died. This police service is not serving the community. This police service is not protecting our vulnerable women and children.”