FSIN, Whitstone family want independent investigation into RCMP shooting death

The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) and Brydon Whitstone’s family are calling for an independent investigation into the 22-year-old’s death.

Whitstone was fatally shot by an RCMP officer in October 2017 following a brief police pursuit in North Battleford, Sask.


Inquest into police shooting death of Brydon Whitstone starts in Battleford

The FSIN wants to see a review of the investigation by an outside investigative body, following conflicting testimony from RCMP officers during the coroner’s inquest into Whitstone’s death last week in Battleford.

Following an independent external investigation by the Regina Police Service (RPS), no criminal charges were laid.

“We cannot have the police continuing to investigate themselves and clear themselves of any wrongdoings in these types of incidents,” FSIN vice-chief Dutch Lerat said Tuesday.

The FSIN is also calling on the Ministry of Justice to review the circumstances related to the shooting and the investigation by RPS.

The Whitstone family is looking at civil action against the officer involved, according to Lerat.

During the inquest, Cst. Jerry Abbott said he shot Whitstone twice because he thought Whitstone was reaching for a gun.

Prior to the shooting, the car Whitstone was driving collided with two police vehicles after a short police pursuit.

No gun was ever found in Whitstone’s car, but 13 bullets were found in his clothing and another live round was later found in his stomach, which was believed to have been ingested.

A picture of the scene in North Battleford on Oct. 22, 2017.

Following the inquest, Saskatchewan RCMP said it will examine the single recommendation coming out of the coroner’s inquest and will provide a response to the chief coroner.

Jurors recommended police use a Taser or other means to immobilize or stun a suspect first prior to the use of a gun.

At the conclusion of the inquest, the jury found Whitstone, of Onion Lake, Sask., died of a gunshot wound, but couldn’t determine by what means.

The jury chose “undetermined” over homicide, suicide, accident, or natural.

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