Winnipeg Free Press
A coalition of aboriginal advocacy groups is staging a rally and walk to City Hall today to protest what it claims is police violence against urban aboriginals.
The event begins at 2 p.m., at the Turtle Island Recreation Centre on Charles Walk in the North End, where a ceremony will be held in memory of Matthew Dumas, who was killed in a confrontation with police seven years ago.
The coalition, which includes Red Power United and Indigenous of Winnipeg against Police Brutality, cited Dumas’s death as an example of the violence directed by the Winnipeg Police Service towards urban aboriginal people.
Spokespersons for the coalition could not be reached for comment.
The memorial service will be followed by a walk to City Hall for a 3 p.m. rally.
Dumas was shot and killed by a Winnipeg police officer Jan. 31, 2005. He had been stopped by police for questioning about his possible involvement in a home invasion. While it was learned later that Dumas was not involved with the robbery, he confronted police with a screwdriver and would not put it down. The police officer who shot and killed Dumas was cleared of any wrongdoing by several reviews, including those conducted by the Calgary Police Service, the Ontario Crown attorney’s office and a judge’s inquest.
The organizers of today’s march issued a news release Wednesday, accusing Winnipeg police of practising racial profiling and using "oppressive and abusive conduct."
March 15 is considered by groups in some countries to be the official day to protest against police violence.
A Winnipeg Police Service spokeswoman said the march organizers have not obtained a parade permit for the march.
The spokeswoman declined to comment on the group’s allegations against the Winnipeg Police Service.