Heiltsuk leaders reject Vancouver police apology after officers in bank arrest fail to attend ceremony


Nearly 20 high-ranking Vancouver police officers and police board members, together with Chief Adam Palmer, got here bearing items to host what was set to be an apology feast in the Heiltsuk Nation neighborhood of Bella Bella.

But a present and the apology have been rejected.

Nation leaders anticipated the 2 Vancouver Police Department (VPD) constables who arrested Heiltsuk man Maxwell Johnson and his granddaughter in 2019 to attend the ceremony in order to apologize face to face.

Neither confirmed up.

“We are deeply saddened and harm by this determination by these two males as a result of it is their determination and no one else’s,” stated Heiltsuk chief Kelly Brown. 

“The Heiltsuk Nation prolonged a number of invites to Mitchel Tong and Canon Wong.”

Palmer instructed CBC News that the officers couldn’t attend for private causes.

Johnson, who was handcuffed outdoors a downtown Vancouver department of the Bank of Montreal in December 2019 alongside his then 12-year-old granddaughter after employees known as police whereas he was making an attempt to arrange a bank account for her, additionally expressed disappointment and anger on the absence of the officers. 

He stated he will not have the option to heal till he will get an apology straight from the officers.

“It’s been very traumatizing for the final three years,” he stated.

‘I am unable to settle for this present’

While the apology feast didn’t go ahead, Heiltsuk leaders had an uplifting ceremony for Johnson’s household to assist them heal from the incident.

The police board members and officers witnessed the occasion, alongside about 150 friends and a number of other reporters.

During speeches on the ceremony, Heiltsuk leaders condemned Palmer for beforehand denying that the officers who arrested Johnson and his granddaughter have been racist. 

“I heard that the Vancouver police chief stated that no racism existed in that police division, however but this [human rights] tribunal discovered that there was,” stated hereditary chief Frank Brown.

Referring to the handcuffing of Johnson and his granddaughter, he added: “The gentle was shone on the ugly face of racism in Vancouver by the Vancouver metropolis police.” 

Brown then crossed the ground to the place Palmer was sitting with different police officers and returned a feast bowl the VPD had given hereditary chiefs.

“With all due respect I am unable to settle for this present,” Brown stated to applause from the large home.

Despite the sturdy feelings, Palmer instructed reporters he thought it was a considerate ceremony.

“The ceremony tonight was very highly effective and impactful and we wish to transfer ahead in a constructive manner with the Heiltsuk Nation, which is what they need to do and what we wish to do,” he instructed reporters. 

Palmer additionally instructed CBC News he can be in discussions with the Heiltsuk to think about preparations to convey the 2 officers to Bella Bella to present an in-person apology. 

“That’s one thing we are going to work by means of with our union and with the officers and we are going to see if we will discover a decision on that.”

‘We have to have closure’ 

As a part of the uplifting ceremony, Johnson, his granddaughter and his son, who witnessed the handcuffing, have been dismissed with cedar boughs and instructed the ceremony would assist to take away the ache of the occasion.

Maxwell Johnson and his granddaughter participate in a ceremony in Bella Bella, B.C. (Angela Sterritt/CBC)

Johnson stated he needed to present prints of his artwork work to the VPD however would wait till the 2 officers determine to come to the neighborhood in particular person.

“If any of you possibly can inform them that I actually want they’ll come so we will all have closure,” he stated.

“That a part of our tradition, we now have to have closure,” he stated. 

“We will not be carried out but, we want to have that forgiveness.”


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