A Hiltsuk grandfather and his granddaughter accused of wrongfully handcuffing two Vancouver police officers may not be attending a pardon ceremony as expected on Monday (October 24).
Constables Kenan Wong and Mitchell Tong are not included in the passenger list received for the Vancouver Police Board delegation’s chartered plane Sunday afternoon, according to The Heltske Nation in Bella Bella.
Wong and Tong were suspended for their part in the racial profiling and arrest of Maxwell Johnson and his granddaughter Tori-Ann in March and ordered to undergo de-escalation and cultural sensitivity training.
Johnson and then 12-year-old Tori Ann were visiting a Bank of Montreal branch in Vancouver in 2019 when employees called 911 on suspicion of presenting fake local status cards. Wong and Tong attended and handcuffed Johnson and Tori Ann using “unnecessary force,” according to retired Judge Brian Neal’s disciplinary decision.
In addition to the suspension and re-education, Neal’s decision required Wong and Tong to apologize to Johnson and Tori Ann. The constables were expected to do so in person at a feast and apology ceremony in Bella Bella on Monday evening.
In a news release Sunday, the Heiltsuk Nation said that if the two constables do not actually show up, the nation sees it as “a sign of a major systemic failure to acknowledge and take responsibility for systemic racism in policing.” will.” Nation added that its protocol does not allow people to stand in for others.
The Nation stated that “…the traditional ceremony of forgiveness cannot be performed unless the harmed are present themselves.”
Johnson added that it would be extremely painful for him and Tori Ann if Wong and Tong did not come forward.
“If they don’t participate, the big question is why aren’t they forced? What does that say about the culture they’re working in? It’s in our culture to forgive and it’s our culture to take responsibility. I am. In the absence of a full apology, the weight of this traumatic event will continue to weigh on me and my family, and we will need to find new strength to bear it in order to move forward,” Johnson said.
The apology is also part of the terms of settlement of two separate human rights complaints with BMO and the Vancouver Police Department. Members of both groups are invited to attend.
Heltsuk Nation said it still hoped Wong and Tong would show up and would leave two seats open for them.
Black Press Media has reached out to the Vancouver Police Department and the Vancouver Police Board to confirm whether the two constables are participating, but did not respond as of publication.
Indigenous Racism Vancouver Police
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