Complaints have been filed with the New Brunswick Police Commission about the conduct of Edmundston Police Force officers related to the fatal shooting of Chantel Moore in early June.
One complaint names the officer who shot Moore. The 26-year-old was fatally shot early on June 4 during a wellness check. Police say Moore left her apartment and came at an officer with a knife. The officer then shot her.
Lawyer T.J. Burke, who represents Moore’s estate, filed the complaints under the province’s Police Act at the direction of Moore’s family.
Burke told reporters the complaint was filed based on information gathered so far, but he is awaiting a use of force report that will lay out the officer’s reasons for the use of deadly force.
“The family didn’t want to wait, the family wanted to make sure the complaint was submitted and processed, so we keep the memory of Chantel at the forefront of everybody that is involved in this issue,” Burke said.
A spokesperson for the force told reporters in June that he didn’t believe the officer attempted to use non-lethal force on Moore. The police force does not use body cameras.
The complaint calls for the officer’s dismissal based on five alleged violations of a code of conduct.
They are that the officer improperly used or cared for his firearm, abused his authority, was neglectful in his duty, acted in a discreditable manner and was oppressive or abusive to Moore.
A second complaint is about the conduct of an officer who spoke to reporters in the hours after the shooting and laughed during an interview with CTV when asked how many times Moore was shot.
The officer later issued an apology.
Burke called it “reckless and uncompassionate behaviour” that falls below the standards expected of a high ranking police officer. Burke said Moore’s family rejects the apology.
Edmundston police wouldn’t comment on the complaints.
“At the present time, the entire matter is presently under investigation and we have no further comments,” Alain Lang, Edmundston’s police chief, wrote in an email.
The New Brunswick Police Commission describes itself as an “independent civilian oversight body” that handles complaints regarding the conduct of members of municipal or regional police forces in the province.
The commission would not confirm complaints have been filed related to Moore’s death, or provide copies of the documents, writing in an unsigned email they are “confidential and not public.”
The commission did not respond to a question about why they are considered confidential.
Burke, who has previously represented Fredericton and Bathurst police officers in code of conduct complaints, said the process will involve an attempt to resolve the complaint through a settlement conference involving the officers.
If a settlement can’t be reached, it could proceed through an arbitration process to decide what outcome the officers may face. Burke said the family is open to an informal resolution of the complaint against the senior officer, but not with the officer who shot Moore.
The process can involve an investigation to determine the facts of the case.
Moore was one of two Indigenous people shot by police in New Brunswick in early June. Rodney Levi, a 48-year-old from Metepenagiag First Nation, was shot by an RCMP officer June 12 after police say they were called to a home where Levi was carrying knives.
Their deaths came during international protests against police brutality and sparked calls for a provincial inquiry into systemic racism in the New Brunswick justice system.
The actions of the officers in the shootings are being investigated separately by Quebec’s Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes, or BEI.
The agency investigates cases where civilians are seriously injured or killed in police operations.
Its investigations can take eight to nine months to complete.
At the end of its investigation, it will submit its report to the coroner responsible for this investigation in New Brunswick, as well as to the New Brunswick Public Prosecution Service, which will determine whether to lay criminal charges against the police officers involved.
A coroner’s inquest has been ordered into Moore’s death.
Inquests are formal court proceedings where evidence related to a person’s death is publicly presented to a jury that can make recommendations on how to potentially avoid similar deaths in the future.