Winnipeg police called racist and abusive

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Winnipeg police called racist and abusive




A report released by the Manitoba Human Rights Commission accuses the Winnipeg police of being racist and abusive, and says there is profound distrust of police among the city's black and aboriginal communities.

Jerry Woods, chairman of the Human Rights Commission, called the allegations in the report "very disturbing." They range from accounts of starlight tours, where people say they were driven to the city's edge and forced to walk home barefoot, to tales of rape and brutality. [...]

In one of the accounts, an aboriginal woman said she was put in a police car and driven outside the city, where the officers stopped and a second police car pulled up.

"They raped me, took turns," the woman said. "They were cruel and disgusting and when they were finished they left me there. I had to find my way back. I've never told this to anyone, but I could never trust a police officer."

Another woman told of being taken with a friend outside the city, where they were both raped and forced to walk home without their jackets.

A major theme of the report is the abusive treatment of aboriginal people by police.

One man described being driven to the perimeter and being left to walk home with no shoes. "I have no one to complain to. Aboriginal people don't matter," he said.

Another said the police broke his fingers, fractured his face and blinded him. "I got tasered and the police were laughing the whole time," he said. "I feel like aboriginals have no rights and are treated like nothing."

[url= and Mail[/url]

Makwa Makwa's picture

And in other news, scientists conclusively determine that people percieve water as 'wet.' However, I was relieved to see glad to see an acknowledgement of the reluctance of people to report abuse. While I am pleased to see that Acting Chief Webster did not dismiss the report out of hand, I was a little disturbed to see the onus being put back on the victims: "You can't accept it as more than just stories until it has been properly investigated. ... Someone who feels they have been abused by police has to come forward." I think that the Law Enforcement Review Agency should be funded to enable more proactive outreach in affected communities.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Following the kidnapping and murder of Helen Betty Osborne, and the police shooting of J.J. Harper, an inquiry was held. This was the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry.



The recommendations of the AJI still await completion. I'm not really surprised to read this.

It is still a general and enduring problem in Canada that the police investigate complaints against the police. And this is a problem for everyone and not just the victims of racism.

Just ask the relatives of Robert Dziekanski.



Originally posted by Makwa:
[b]I think that the Law Enforcement Review Agency should be funded to enable more proactive outreach in affected communities.[/b]

LERA is so weak that it should actually be disbanded. In its place should be a police comission with a mandate to investigate alleged police misconduct and lay criminal charges if necessary (LERA's mandate covers allegations arising from performance of duties, not criminal matters) complemented by a special prosecutor whose sole job is to prosecute alleged police wrongdoing.

Maysie Maysie's picture

This is incredibly infuriating, and sad at the same time.

Helen Betty Osborne and J.J. Harper were murdered 20 years ago. The original AJI took ten years to make recommendations and in 1999 (almost 8 years ago) the Aboriginal Justice Implementation Commission was formed to develop an action plan that has yet to be completed. The lightening speed is giving me whiplash. [img]rolleyes.gif" border="0[/img]

On the one hand, this piece in the Globe, about the police force in Winnipeg, is a massively radical thing for the Globe to print and will reach people for whom this is breaking news. On the other, the priority of this issue is non-existent. When the system is corrupt, and IMO the cops in Winnipeg are merely over the top or get caught out more than their counterparts in other cities in Canada, another system is not the way to go to rectify it.


The fact that there's a name for what the cops do ("starlight tours"? Give me a fucking break.) and still no action, tells us everything we need to know.


I think the problem goes beyond any kind of nice solution. Aboriginals-- and others for that matter-- are right to be reluctant to complain about criminal acts by police. It's clear that investigators, crowns attorney, judges, and our legislators all enjoy this system and will continually work to preserve it.

The whole system is putrid, from the cop on the beat to the provincial attorney general and all points in between.


Infuriating. Not surprising, but definitely infuriating.


We have a country, a culture and systems that were created by Racist and white supremacy.

So its not surprising that white supremacy and racism exist in the Police force and the rest of the criminal injustice system.

What still needs to be done, is to make the connection that we collectively need to fundamental address the inherent racism that permeates this culture.

We cannot truly heal as a society, if we continue to ignore the root causes, and treat these incidents as exceptional, when in reality they are the norm.


I'm working on a translation concerning systemic underfunding of women's shelters in Aboriginal communities and off-reserve settings where there are many Aboriginal women (can't go into more detail, client confidentiality).

Was surprised that the Manitoba Aboriginal Justice Inquiry hasn't yet been translated into French, when all Manitoba statutes and relevant texts are supposed to be bilingual. Of course that lack is probably more important nowadays to Aboriginal women here in Quйbec than to Mйtis and Aboriginal groups in Manitoba nowadays, but it is telling.

It is easy to find current news on the systemic underfunding of Aboriginal women's shelters, simply by googling, if you want further info.

The Globe story doesn't tell us anything new, but it is important to keep such injustice front and centre in the media.