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15 years after Stonechild Inquiry report was released, a call for more police oversight in Sask.
Published Wednesday, October 23, 2019 2:06PM CST
Neil Stonechild is seen in this undated file photo.
SASKATOON -- Fifteen years after the Stonechild Inquiry report, a Saskatchewan Indigenous leader credits it with creating lasting change but says more work is ahead.
“Neil Stonechild did not die in vain. His legacy still lives on in the training of police officers far and wide and the changes that were made in his name,” Chief Bobby Cameron said in a Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations news release.
The report, released in 2004, examined the death of 17-year-old Neil Stonechild. In 1990, the Indigenous teen’s body was found frozen in a field in the city’s northwest industrial area, five days after two Saskatoon police had taken him custody.
After the inquiry's report was released in 2004 the two constables who took Stonechild in custody, Larry Hartwig and Bradley Senger, were fired. Hartwig and Senger have never been found criminally responsible for his death.
Cameron said that while many systemic changes have happened within the Saskatoon Police Service and other police services in the province as a result of the report, the lack of civilian-led oversight of police in the province is a concern.
“Our leadership want to see a provincial oversight authority implemented. We can no longer allow the police to investigate themselves,” Cameron said.
In Saskatchewan, after serious incidents involving police another police service typically conducts the investigation- but the practice isn’t legally required.
In most other provinces, an independent oversight body steps in to investigate when an officer is believed to have killed or seriously injured someone.
“That’s where true change comes from,” Cameron said.