Five people have been arrested after a woman poured liquid on the backside of Victoria Police Department Chief Del Manak during a memorial for Chantel Moore – an Indigenous woman from B.C. who was fatally shot by police last year.
Manak was attending the event at the B.C. Legislature at the invitation of Moore’s mother, VicPD said in a statement. Manak did not suffer physical harm during assault, which happened at 2 p.m. after a blanketing ceremony.
The five people taken into custody have since been released and no charges have been laid at this time.
The assault, which was captured on video, was condemned by Moore’s mother, who called it “terrible and unacceptable.”
Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps and Esquimalt Mayor Barbara Desjardins said in a joint statement that the act has upset and saddened them.
“We recognize that there is a long history of mistrust between police in Canada and Indigenous communities. We know that there is a lot of healing to do. That is precisely why the Chief was invited by Moore’s family to participate in the memorial; he has been working closely with them since her death and they immediately and publicly denounced this act of violence against the Chief Manak.”
Still processing what happened. This cowardly incident won't define me or our @vicpdcanada officers. Grateful to Chantel Moore's family for jumping to my defence, to our community for their outpouring of love & support & to the brave and dedicated #VicPD officers who shine 24/7. https://t.co/qAEEobD05B
— Del Manak (@ChiefManak) September 19, 2021
Police shot and killed the 26-year-old Moore from Port Alberni on June 4, 2020 in Edmunston, N.B. during a wellness check. Authorities did not file criminal charges against the involved officers after finding that they had acted “reasonable under the circumstances.” According to police, Moore was threatening the officers with a knife.
The memorial at the B.C. Legislature was part of a larger event featuring several hundred people drawing attention to Moore’s specific case and relations between police and Indigenous Canadians.
VicPD said in a release that it has been working closely with local Indigenous communities to rebuild trust and understanding through anti-stigma training from Indigenous youth, participation in events and ceremonies with the Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness and other learning opportunities.
“We call on everyone in the community to stand down from attacks and to express differences of opinion respectfully and in a way that will help to build understanding and allow much needed-healing to happen,” it reads.