Six months after the police shooting death of Chantel Moore, the Quebec-based agency BEI has completed its investigation and, according to their press release issued December 2020, reports have been delivered to the New Brunswick Coroner and New Brunswick Public Prosecution Services.
Chantel Moore, age 26, of Tla-o-qui-aht had just moved into her Edmundston apartment in New Brunswick that summer. Her young daughter Gracie was staying with Moore’s mother, Martha, at their house not far away. Martha said she and her spouse were woken to loud pounding on their door in the early morning hours of June 4th, 2020 by an Edmundston police officer who was looking for Chantel. Martha gave the officer Chantel’s address.
Moore was alone in her upstairs apartment unit that morning. Her friend, who was out of the province, became concerned about her safety after speaking to her on the phone. He called Edmundston Police to ask that they check on her.
According to information released by the BEI (Le Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes), an Edmundston police officer arrived at the apartment at about 2:32 a.m., less than 30 minutes after the initial call for help. He approached the apartment by an outdoor staircase and landing that leads up to the entrance of Moore’s unit.
The police officer alleged that after repeatedly knocking on Moore’s living room window, she eventually came to her door armed with a knife. The officer alleges Moore walked toward him brandishing the knife. According to the Dec. 20 BEI media release, the officer then stepped back onto the balcony, asking the woman a few times to drop the knife before shooting her multiple times.
First aid was administered by the officer and, according to the BEI statement, paramedics pronounced Moore dead at 2:45 a.m.
Moore’s mother Martha is devastated by the loss and does not believe the police officer’s version of events.
“It just doesn’t make sense,” she said.
Martin pointed out many inconsistencies and saw her daughter’s wounds. But since the BEI report is now in the hands of the prosecutors, she knows she must do more waiting to see whether they will proceed with charges against the police officer.
Martin was not aware that the BEI investigation was complete until she received a call from a reporter around Christmas time.
“It’s been handed to crown prosecutor and it’s up to them to decide what to do,” said Martin. She has been told it can take up to three months for prosecutors to make their decision.
Public Prosecutions Services in New Brunswick released a statement on December 23, 2020 regarding the investigation into the death of Chantel Moore, stating that it will make an announcement on the outcome of its work when its work is complete.
In the statement the prosecutions service said it is taking the time to examine these findings to determine what steps will be taken. It is expected the examination of these findings will take several weeks.
Public Prosecutions Services will not be commenting on the findings of the investigation while the matter is being examined.
In an email to Ha-Shilth-Sa, Coreen Enos, Communications Officer for the New Brunswick Department of Justice and Public Safety, said there will be a public hearing on the facts of this case.
“New Brunswick’s Office of the Chief Coroner has confirmed there will be an inquest into this case following the conclusion of the criminal investigation and any court processes that may result from the investigation,” Enos wrote.
Martin clings to the hope that justice will be served for her daughter, who has been described as kind, gentle and fun-loving.
“There’s wounds, evidence on her body, and she’s not here to defend herself,” said Martin through her tears. “He (police officer) said she came at him with a knife – she was left-handed but shot in the right arm.”
The Quebec Bureau of Independent Investigation (BEI) agreed to do the investigation because Edmundston does not have an independent body to conduct this work. They sent a team of investigators to Edmundston to look into the circumstances surrounding the shooting death of Moore.
The BEI provided cursory information about the incident in their media release, but more specific details about what happened are being kept confidential. The report produced by the BEI is not public since it contains sensitive information, evidence, names and statements of the people involved.
“The BEI forwarded its report to the designated prosecutor of the New Brunswick Public Prosecutions Service, as well as to the coroner of the case, on December 16, 2020,” states the BEI. They went on to say that it is the New Brunswick Public Prosecutions Service that will determine whether to lay charges against an involved police officer.
Martin says she is waiting for a call from the New Brunswick prosecutor’s office to attend an update meeting.
“This is a mother’s worst nightmare,” she cried. “I’ve lost so much.”
She says her spouse and her granddaughter Gracie are blessings that help her get from one day to the next.