Thunder Bay – NEWS – Dr. Huyer, the Chief Coroner for the Province of Ontario is on the Governance Committee with the Thunder Bay Police Service.
Dr. Huyer issued this statement on the issues raised by Julian Falconer and the families over the re-investigation of cases as recommended in the Broken Trust Report:
“Presently, the multi-discipline investigation team is reviewing information and reports from the OPP, the Thunder Bay Police Service, the Office of the Chief Coroner, as well as speaking with families and witness. The timeline for completing the investigations took longer than originally anticipated – the pandemic created mobility challenges for traveling to interview witnesses etc. Work continues to move forward to complete the report and towards release in summer 2021.
“The purpose was to have a collaborative multi-disciplinary team to thoroughly explore the deaths of nine Indigenous people, and to share with the Thunder Bay Police Service different approaches available to assist with future investigations. While these deaths were being reinvestigated individually, it was also to look at them together to determine if there were common or systemic occurrences that may need to be addressed. Having Thunder Bay Police work side-by-side with officers from other services, such as the Nishnawbe Aski Police Service, Treaty Three and OPP, can provide different perspectives during the course of an investigation.
“The report will focus on the reinvestigations of the death of nine Indigenous people as recommended by the OIPRD in its Broken Trust Report. The goal is to find out ‘what can be better’ and to determine best practices to improve the quality of future investigations. While the Executive Governance Committee agreed that Stacy DeBungee’s death should be reinvestigated, the Ministry of the Attorney General recently engaged the OPP to reinvestigate the death of Mr. DeBungee. The OPP will be leading that investigation separately from the Broken Trust investigative teams.
“The Executive Governance Committee is part of a three-tiered, independent, multi-disciplinary, and multi-agency team. The Executive Governance Committee will approve all completed reinvestigations and release findings to stakeholders and the public. Any real or perceived conflicts of interest will be addressed.
“Input from the families of the victims is invaluable and is a high priority for the reinvestigation team. A Victim Liaison Officer communicates with the families of the victims often. Information shared with families is confidential.”