The Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission is pleased to announce that a settlement has been reached in a complaint of discrimination based on ancestry and race. On December 10, 2014, Regina Police Service officers used force to detain Mr. Simon Ash-Moccasin while investigating a call. Mr. Ash-Moccasin did not match the description of the suspect in that investigation, nor was he engaged in any unlawful activity. Mr. Ash-Moccasin was subsequently released. He filed a complaint alleging that the Regina Police Service discriminated against him in the provision of public services under s. 12 of the Code on the basis of his Indigenous race and ancestry.
“Indigenous people in Saskatchewan are subject to racism in public services, including policing. Police services throughout the province need to take steps to counteract bias and discrimination and improve their relationships with Indigenous people,” said David Arnot, Chief Commissioner of the SHRC.
The Regina Police Service did not admit to breaching of the Code, but did apologize to Mr. Ash-Moccasin for how he was treated. The SHRC supports the Regina Police Service’s commitment to the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The mediated settlement agreement ensures that the Regina Police Service will continue to train and educate its personnel to improve inter-cultural competency and prevent discrimination and bias in policing. Mr. Ash-Moccasin also received monetary compensation as part of the mediated settlement.
“Mediation is an effective tool in resolving human rights complaints and achieving reasonable and restorative resolutions that meet the needs of all parties,” said Arnot. “When people are willing to sit down, communicate, and participate in the process, they are better able to move forward and find ways to fairly and efficiently resolve their disputes. Consensus outcomes like this one are the best method to correct problems of the past while improving relationships for the future.”
JOINT PUBLIC STATEMENT (Ash-Moccasin/Regina Police Service)
On December 10, 2014 two members of the Regina Police Service were responding to a call for service. As part of their investigation, they stopped Mr. Simon Ash-Moccasin and used force to detain him. It was subsequently learned he was not engaging in unlawful activity when he was stopped. In response to this incident, Mr. Ash-Moccasin filed a Human Rights Complaint against the Regina Police Service.
The Regina Police Service formally acknowledges the hurt suffered by Mr. Ash-Moccasin as a result of his detention, and the force used against him. The Regina Police Service, and the members involved, have formally apologized to Mr. Ash-Moccasin for this incident, and Mr. Moccasin has accepted this apology.
The Regina Police Service has taken responsibility for this incident, and has taken corrective steps to ensure a similar incident does not occur again. To that end, the Regina Police Service has engaged in organization wide training to remind and re-educate members about their legal authorities and of the Constitutional rights of all members of the public, in order to prevent a similar situation from occurring in the future. In addition, since this incident, the Regina Police Service has implemented increased cultural competency training, specifically training on the history of Indigenous people, including the impact of Residential Schools, the 60s scoop, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. The Regina Police Service remains committed to Mr. Moccasin, and all members of the public. It is our hope that through this incident, and the training implemented, the Regina Police Service will emerge as a stronger and more responsive organization.
The parties have reached a mutually agreeable resolution.
Mr. Simon Ash-Mocassin expresses his gratitude to the Human Rights Commission and lawyer Scott Newell for their work on his behalf and to the Public Complaints Commission for their service in this matter. He congratulates his lawyer Larry Kowalchuk for staying the course and his guidance. Finally Mr. Ash-Mocassin wishes to thank the following for their kind assistance: Florence Stratton, Chris Kortright, Michelle Stewart, Bob Hughes, Andrew Loewen and the members and supporters of the Saskatchewan Coalition Against Racism and the loving support of his partner Ashley and his oldest children Maija and Sage throughout this journey towards justice and reconciliation. He added: “I am pleased with this outcome and the understanding shown by Chief Evan Bray”.