Multiple First Nations are calling for a Coroner’s Inquest and an immediate intervention by the Ministry of Corrections on the Prince Albert Police Service after the death of 13 month old Tanner Brass last month, saying systemic racism played a part. A joint news release from the group says they believe the death was preventable, and there are grave concerns regarding gross negligence and/or criminal negligence from the Police Service.
The First Nations independent investigation suggests that when officers arrived, they assumed Kyla Frenchman was drunk and took her into custody, ignoring her pleas for help for her and her baby. FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron says she told the officers she and her baby were in danger, but no one went inside to do a wellness check on the child, and then a few hours later, police received a call from a man who reported he had murdered his baby. Cameron believes this is a prime example of systemic racism, embedded within a justice system that is supposed to serve and protect.
The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, Prince Albert Grand Council and Thunderchild First Nation are also calling for the officers involved and the Chief of the Prince Albert Police Service to be fired.
The Prince Albert Police Service said in a statement after the baby’s death, that the police it supports an independent review of the Saskatchewan Public Complaints Commission, and remains committed to transparency and accountability.
Kaij Brass has been charged with second degree murder.
The Prince Albert Board of Police Commissioners says in a news release it continues to wait for a report from the independent Public Complaints Commission investigation underway, to understand what happened and how operations at the Police Service can be improved moving forward. The Board says following this tragedy, Chief Jonathan Bergen immediately called the Board together to discuss a structure change within the police organization. That led to a new position, an inspector to oversee the patrol section, being added to the Police Service. Before, there was just one inspector responsible for many sectors.