This year there has been a growing call for police reform all around the world.
It started with the murders of multiple African-Americans by the police which caused protests and riots around the United States and later, around the world. The protest made its way to Canada and the light has been shone on the policing situation in the country, mainly regarding police brutality, harassment and handling of criminal cases when involving Indigenous and Black Canadians.
Amid the calls for police reform in North America, groups most affected by police mistreatment should have large influence in the change for the best results to come.
There have been calls recently for more Indigenous influence in policing watchdog groups so that police brutality and murders by the police can be properly investigated. Michele Audette, a Canadian politician and the president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada, is calling for an Indigenous overwatch group to investigate police.
Unlike the United States, Canada does not have much information available on police brutality or police brutality by race. This becomes a problem when the trend of unsolved crime cases, harassment allegations and physical harm involves minority groups.
Many of the police watchdog groups around Canada have been criticized when investigating crimes in Indigenous communities. One thing Audette points out is there is no Indigenous overwatch in some provincial investigations, despite many cases involving Indigenous peoples.
The policing issue is nothing new even though social unrest is now being treated as a major problem. The protests and calls for police reform have happened throughout Black American communities for decades.
Despite the protests, there is still a large police brutality problem when it comes to Black Americans. To actually make change, those who have been affected by the brutality need to be available to not just voice their grievances but also put the change into action.
With the lack of trust in police from Indigenous and Black communities, proposed police reform should go a lot deeper than just being reviewed and implemented by the police themselves.
Reform should go beyond the government because of the government’s history of treatment towards affected groups.
The history of Indigenous groups and the government of Canada has not been good and what is shown to this day is that the relationship is still not good. The same is seen south of the border with Black Americans and their understandable distrust of the American government.
For serious change to be made, there needs to be a way for the police to be policed by those who are affected by police mistreatment. That’s the start on a long road of true equality and change.