The mother of Evan Penner, an Indigenous man who was brutalized by Saskatoon Police on tape last weekend, is speaking out against what happened to her son.
Sherri Penner, from Norway House, MB, says that the viral video of her son’s arrest is tough to watch, and she hopes that it serves as a message.
“As a mother, it’s very hard to see something like that happen to your child, and I wouldn’t want that to happen to anyone else’s child,” said Penner. “I just want to find justice for him, for what happened to him, because he did not deserve what he went through.”
At a Thursday morning press conference, Penner was joined by Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Chief Bobby Cameron, and Vice-Chief Dutch Lerat, who both shared their frustration about what happened.
Cameron says that the video shows that systemic racism is alive and well in Saskatchewan, adding that one way to help fight racism, is to invest in education.
“This is where investing in education and rehabilitation would play a big factor in addressing these problems for the future,” said Cameron. “Throwing people into the jail system is not going to solve these problems or decrease these problems in the future. Restorative justice, and understanding the culture, and the protocols and traditions of First Nations people.”
Cameron invited RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki to listen to the concerns and complaints of Indigenous people against police brutality and racism.
FSIN Vice-Chief Dutch Lerat, says that FSIN is joining the push for the province to create a civilian-led police oversight organization to investigate incidents of police brutality, like Penner’s arrest.
Lerat says that he is tired of seeing incidents like this happen to First Nations people over and over again.
“We are saddened that, once again, one of our Indigenous citizens has suffered, in our view, unnecessary force and violence at the hands of police,” said Lerat.
Other things that the FSIN said there are going to advocate for is, either, the creation of more First Nations police services, or for more members of existing police services to be First Nations.