Current Problems

Justice (25-42)

Denial of medical access

November 9, 2020

CBC – Genesta Garson a 19-year-old member of Tataskweyak Cree Nation in northern Manitoba “was knocked unconscious at an RCMP detachment in Thompson, Man., and despite the act being caught on video, no formal investigation was launched. She was picked up on suspicion of being intoxicated by two community safety officers. During a disputed altercation, Greer was punched in the face. Despite smacking ger head against a wall and a concrete floor no medical assistance was provided for over 15 minutes until an ambulance arrived to take her to a local hospital.

After the incident RCMP officers made multiple visits to her home in Split Lake, 140kms north of Thompson, asking her to sign a form withdrawing the complaint her lawyer had filed with the RCMP Civilian Review and Complaints Commission. The incident highlights three issues:

1. Community Safety Officers need independent oversight

  • do not fall under the jurisdiction of the province’s police watchdog, which investigates when an officer may have caused the death or serious injury of a person, or have contravened certain laws.
  • RCMP officials say oversight for safety officers falls to the City of Thompson and, if there were criminal allegations, the RCMP would investigate.

2. Though the region has a fraction of Winnipeg’s population of 700,000, figures provided by the RCMP show that people in the North are detained under Intoxicated Persons Detention Act (IPDA) at a rate six times greater than those in the capital.

  • The IPDA is disproportionately applied against Indigenous people

3. Given the treatment Genesta received at the RCMP detachment, multiple visits by different RCMP officers to her home could be seen as applying undue pressure on her to withdraw the charges