Remember Frank Paul

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1950-1998

Frank Paul, a 48-year-old Mi’kmaq man, was released from police custody and left limp in a Vancouver alley where he later died from hypothermia. It’s sad to say that this type of story is all too familiar. Community members have been gathering outside the supreme courts in downtown Vancouver to show support to all of the Aboriginal people who have died in custody as the public inquiry into his death continues. 

In Canada the average training time to become an officer of the law is less than 4 months. I seriously doubt that in a 4-month period there could be enough time to instill the values of equality, social etiquette, and humanitarianism on top of everything else a police officer has to be trained in. I mean it takes longer to get a basic diploma! Another serious problem arises with so-called “internal code of conduct investigations”. These internal investigations are in place to insure that no information will be released to the public that could tarnish the police force’s image. How can we have accountability without transparency?

Let Frank Paul be a martyr for the justice of all people who have suffered and died at the hands of police brutality. I feel that society has slowly started evolving in a positive direction, perhaps its time for the police force to do the same. With a longer training period that emphasizes the ethical treatment of individuals regardless of race, along with an open and transparent investigation process for misconduct, carried out by an independent body, we might see the end of “starlight tours”, excessive force, cruel punishment techniques, and unnecessary deaths. True respect can only be earned with honorable actions it can not be forced through violence or fear.

Julian Maree, Dunne-za/Cree
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A public inquiry into the death of Frank Paul is currently underway in Vancouver. People are gathering outside the court hearings in an ongoing series of rallies to raise awareness not only about this case but also about all the people that have died in police custody. Justice for Frank Paul!

For more information about the rallies check out the Indigenous Action Movement facebook group.

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