The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council (NTC) is “deeply disappointed” in the outcome of anIndependent Investigation Office (IIO) Report’s decision in the matter of the death of Jocelyn George on June 24, 2016.
In a statement released Tuesday afternoon (Feb. 6), NTC president Judith Sayers said the details outlined in this report “underscore an urgent need for the RCMP to re-evaluate their internal policies regarding the monitoring of persons in custody who are deemed intoxicated.
“Despite the IIO concluding that there was no criminal wrongdoing, stricter protocols need to be implemented for the prevention of incidents such as this in the future,” she said in the statement.
The NTC would like to see comprehensive procedures to perform regular personal checks on individuals taken into custody that are clearly intoxicated or under the influence of drugs to ensure their condition is not deteriorating and impairing the health of the individual. “The lack of a personal check on Jocelyn may not have been critical as outlined in the report, but may have been helpful or preventative. This case shows that a person just moving around did not mean they were in good health.”
Police services in Canada are in need of a thorough review of their policies and procedures. This is not the first Nuu-chah-nulth or Indigenous person to die in the custody of the RCMP. This report has not only failed to bring closure to the family of Jocelyn George who have been left with unanswered questions but has highlighted a reoccurring issue present in many Indigenous communities across Canada – the unfair and unbalanced treatment of our people by police.
Hesquiaht First Nation’s Chief Councillor Richard Lucas added the family of Jocelyn George is very upset with the findings of the report and feel that her treatment while in police custody was discriminatory and unfair.
The Nuu-chah-nulth shares in the sorrow of Jocelyn’s passing and sends their prayers and strength to her family and the Hesquiaht community.