Maxwell Johnson. (Facebook)

B.C. First Nation calls probe into arrest of Indigenous man at bank ‘woefully inadequate’

Maxwell Johnson and his 12-year-old granddaughter had been at a Bank of Montreal branch in Vancouver on Dec. 20

A B.C. First Nation is calling the response to an Indigenous man’s arrest and detention at a Vancouver bank “woefully inadequate.”

In a statement issued Wednesday, the Heiltsuk Nation said they stood behind Maxwell Johnson and his granddaughter after the duo were arrested and detained for an hour while trying to open a bank account.

Johnson, a member of the Heiltsuk Nation, and his 12-year-old granddaughter had been at a Bank of Montreal branch in Vancouver on Dec. 20 when an employee called the police to report a fraud in progress, citing concerns over Johnson’s Indian Status card and identification.

The Heiltsuk said the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner investigation launched Tuesday into the Vancouver police officers’ conduct fell short of addressing the community’s concerns.

The First Nation acknowledged the investigation was a step in the right direction but said it was not “comforting or acceptable to us that police should be investigating police on a matter that goes to the heart of systemic racism.” The Delta police have been tasked with carrying out the OPCC-ordered probe.

The officers in question have already cleared been by an internal Vancouver police investigation but the Heiltsuk want a civillian-based Vancouver Police Board probe.

The Heiltsuk said the responses from the Bank of Montreal and Vancouver police have not done enough. In a statement, the nation said they take “strong exception” to comments made by the Vancouver police chief that the officers’ response was “standard operating procedure.” The Heiltsuk also took aim at the Bank of Montreal, accusing them of racial profiling.

Johnson, the Heiltsuk said, is a “a much-loved and respected artist, carver, cultural leader, singer, foster parent, and knowledge holder in our community,” who has publicly talked about his struggles with anxiety and panic disorder.

The Vancouver police have admitted the arrest was “upsetting and distressing” to Johnson and his granddaughter, but have declined to comment further while the OPCC investigation is ongoing. The bank issued an apology following the incident.

A community support rally was held in Vancouver for Johnson on Tuesday.

READ MORE: Probe ordered into B.C. arrest of Indigenous man, granddaughter trying to open bank account


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cows, cars and more: Coldstream secondary students show off capstone projects

Kalamalka Secondary seniors displayed Career Life Connections capstone projects Jan. 15

Low-level meth dealer gets 6 months jail time in Vernon

BC Supreme Court Justice’s sentence concludes case related to June 2017 offence

Vernon perfect getaway for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, mayor says

Family-oriented community also home to Royal interests; film and helicopter industries

Group builds shelters for Vernon’s stray cats

Twenty insulated cat shelters were constructed by volunteers and delivered around town

True Stories: memoir-writers, reading at Vernon centre

Reading with local North Okanagan writers Art Dalton, Patti Shales Lefkos, Raven Dahl, Janelle Hardy

Canada to bolster screening of central China passengers for virus at 3 airports

Additional measures will include messaging on arrivals screens in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver

B.C. town spends $14.14 per resident for snow removal in one month

Costs of snow removal to the Town of Princeton skyrocketed in December.… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

Photo reminds Salmon Arm resident of connection to former drama teacher Justin Trudeau

Prime minister remembered as being as a funny, larger-than-life person

Province says it is monitoring AIM’s road maintenance

The provincial transportation ministry is working closely with new road contractor AIM,… Continue reading

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

‘It’s still early’: Flu rates down so far this year at Interior Health

At Kelowna General Hosptial, there have been about 50 confirmed cases

Calls for dialogue as Coastal GasLink pipeline polarizes some in northern B.C.

Coastal GasLink is building the 670-kilometre pipeline from British Columbia’s northeast to Kitimat on the coast

Most Read