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'It's not right': Tanner Brass' mother speaks after Sask. 13-month old's death

The mother of 13-month-old Tanner Brass spoke briefly at a Saskatoon hotel Friday, demanding justice for her and her family.

Kyla Frenchman, a Prince Albert, Sask. woman who is also a member of Thunderchild Cree Nation, shared some memories of how her baby boy was always excited to watch Blue’s Clues and always stood beside her when she filled the bathtub full of water.

“Tanner was a happy baby, he always loved to get up in the morning,” she said, before the women supporting her at the front of the room asked why it was important for her to be speaking Friday.

“To get justice for my baby. It’s not right. No woman should have to go through this,” Frenchman said.

Frenchman spoke at a joint news conference organized by the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN), Prince Albert Grand Council, and Thunderchild First Nation to address “recent developments” in the case surrounding Tanner Brass’ death.

On Feb. 10, at 5:44 a.m. police were called to a home in the 200 block of 23rd Street West where a family dispute had been reported. Frenchman was taken into custody.

Roughly five hours later, police were called back to the home after a homicide involving a child was reported. Tanner's father Kaij Brass has been charged with second-degree murder in his death.

Frenchman prepared a note, but couldn’t bring herself to speak like she originally planned. Instead, her lawyer Eleanore Sunchild read the note.

Sunchild detailed how Frenchman contacted police because she feared for Tanner's safety and was fleeing from a potentially dangerous or violent situation. She said Frenchman was taken into custody, alleging police accused her of being drunk.

“They took my baby away from me. They did not care about him or his life. I still believe Tanner would be alive today if they had listened to me,” Sunchild said, reading Frenchman’s note.

A news release from Prince Albert police issued March 10 announced Chief Jonathan Bergen turned the matter over to the Saskatchewan Public Complaints Commission (PCC). Bergen also suspended the two responding officers from active duty pending the outcome of the PCC investigation, which also includes looking into three senior supervisory officers working the day Tanner Brass died.

The Prince Albert Police Service declined to comment on the investigation.

After what Frenchman has gone through, FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron has no faith in the PCC investigation.

“Police investigating police will fail,” he said. “The Public Complaints Commission that was supposed to be happening will fail because there's no First Nation inclusion. Give it up, throw it away. Throw it out the window because it's gonna fail. We already know what's wrong.”

Cameron continued by repeating previous demands for an overhaul of the justice system and more Indigenous representation within it.

“We cannot afford to continue down the same path where these tragedies can be easily avoided,” Cameron said.

Cameron also wants the officers in charge and the officers responding to Frenchman’s call last month to be fired immediately without pay and be held accountable.

“We are going to support her, we are going to go the distance — even if we have to die going the distance,” Cameron said.

“People must be held accountable and got to be held accountable now.” Top Stories

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