THUNDER BAY – The Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) are conducting an investigation of the Thunder Bay Police Service. The investigation comes following complaints made over the handling of Indigenous deaths in Thunder Bay.
The focal point of the investigation will be the death of forty-one-year-old Stacey DeBungee, whose body was found in McIntyre River on October 19, 2015.
At issue is the investigation of the case. The family of Stacey DeBungee have sought the investigation over how Thunder Bay Police Service treated them during their investigation.
When the body of Stacey DeBungee was found, the TBPS issued a statement three hours later that three hours stating, that the “Initial investigation does not indicate a suspicious death. A post mortem examination will be conducted to determine an exact cause of death.” Then twenty-five hours after the body had been discovered police issued a second statement saying the, “Death has been deemed as non-criminal.”
Lawyer Julian Falconer who is representing the DeBungee family states that both releases were issued before the post mortem had been completed.
The investigation will also look at the deaths of the seven Indigenous students who died in Thunder Bay and were the focus on a provincial coroner’s inquest.
The OIPRD may conduct investigations into systemic issues arising from public complaints and will work to identify and offer solutions to systemic or ongoing issues within a police service.