Tla-o-qui-aht member Chantel Moore was fatally shot during a police wellness check on June 4. (Facebook photo)
Four weeks after the shooting death of her daughter by an Edmundston Police officer, Martha Martin is sickened by the news that the police officer is back on duty.
“It makes my tummy turn – especially knowing that he knows where we live,” Martin said in a phone interview with Ha-Shilth-Sa.
Several Canadian media outlets reported on July 2 that the Edmundston Police Force have confirmed that the officer who shot Chantel Moore on June 4 is now back to work on administrative duties.
Ha-Shilth-Sa reached out to the Edmundston Police but all administrative staff had gone home for the day.
Mychele Poitras, communications coordinator for the City of Edmundston, is quoted as saying that the police officer was reassigned to administrative work until the results of the investigation by the Quebec Independent Investigations Bureau (BEIQ) are known.
The police officer has been on paid leave since the June 4, following the shooting of 26-year-old Chantel Moore of Tla-o-qui-aht during a wellness check.
Chantel had been communicating with her boyfriend, who was in Montreal, via text messages. She had expressed to him that she was frightened by someone. Concerned, the boyfriend contacted the local police to request a wellness check for the petite young woman.
Early on the Edmundston Police said that Chantel confronted the officer in a threatening manner with a knife.
The family has said she was shot five times. They have also said that they do not believe that Moore would have threatened anyone.
Martin arrived back at her Edmundston home with her husband and granddaughter on June 30. She said she is in self-isolation after returning home from British Columbia where she spent time grieving with family and attending rallies and memorial services.
“In self-isolation, I feel like my hands are tied,” said Martin. She fears for her safety and keeps her doors locked at all times.
“Why is his name not being put out there? Why is he being protected?” Martin asked. “Putting him back on active duty means that there will be no charges – that’s what it feels like to me.”
Concerned at the lack of information coming from investigators and the fear that there will be no justice for her daughter, Martin has retained a lawyer.
“There are so many things not making sense,” she added.
She wonders why her daughter was shot with such lethal force and why the officer involved is allowed a few weeks off with pay.
“I had to bring my daughter’s ashes home and he gets to walk around like nothing happened,” she said, before breaking down in sobbing tears.
Martin is doing her best to protect Chantel’s six-year-old daughter Gracie, who she is now raising.
“Gracie will say that she doesn’t want to die like her mom,” said Martin. Gracie also tells family that her mommy is an angel now.
The BEIQ is continuing its investigation, remotely, from Quebec. Martin is not confident that their findings will bring justice for Chantel.
Martin vows to fight for justice for Chantel Moore and asks people to stand beside her. She fears that if people don’t stand up, things like this fade away with time and nothing will change.
Martin said she got to spend some time with her late daughter’s body after the shooting.
“The last thing I whispered in her ear is that I will get her justice and I plan on keeping that promise,” said Martin through her tears.