Alunaye, Laura Holland, Wet’suwet’en of the Laksilyu House is very clear– her son’s death will have meaning.
“We want justice to be balanced,” Laura says. “RCMP need to be held to a higher standard of law, that is in place to protect every one.”
She’s channelling all her grief, anger, and love into a call to action.
Her son Jared Lowndes, 38, a father of two young girls, was shot and killed by the RCMP in Campbell River, B.C., on July 8. Police say officers were executing a warrant.
“During the interaction the Police Service Dog was stabbed and killed, and the suspect was shot and was pronounced deceased on scene. The Police Dog Handler was also treated for a knife wound. No other persons were injured,” the release from the RCMP says.
That family says police mishandled the arrest and changes need to be made.
“All across First Nations, we have the story of Indigenous folks who are being shot and killed,” she says. “We all have the same story. This is someone who was loved dearly.
“This is someone that belonged in our houses, in our clans, in our systems.“
Laura wants to see significant police reforms – including disarming of police and officers wearing “always on” body cameras.
“They walk around with their rifles, with their handguns and they startle people. Our kids are growing up in a generation, in a climate where the police can not be trusted,” says Laura.
The B.C. Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) agrees with disarming police in certain situations.
In April it presented a set of recommendations to a special provincial committee looking at reforming the Police Act in B.C.
Largely focusing on de-escalation strategies, the BCCLA report recommends “a no-carry policy in Indigenous communities; or in urban areas with large Indigenous populations; and on calls involving Indigenous identified individuals as a first response.
“Vigorous and ongoing Indigenous trauma-informed de-escalation training and teams for Police, which include Indigenous Peoples and mental health professionals.”