The Brandon Police Service has filed a request to the Manitoba Department of Justice to launch an investigation into allegations of member misconduct.
Jay Moosetail took to Facebook to air his grievances after a run-in with a BPS member on Saturday night, saying the police officer was mocking the Idle No More movement.
Moosetail was unavailable for comment, but in an interview with the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network on Monday, which was posted by a reporter on Twitter, he said the officer was trying to provoke him and called him names such as "dirty Indian."
The allegations, which have been circulating on social media, say that the victim, an apparently aboriginal man, was picked up by city police on Saturday, then driven out to the Brandon airport, where he was left to walk back by himself in what has been termed a "starlight tour."
"I got taken out of the city limits and got told to walk from the city airport last night from the Brandon city police and they said idle no more mother f----r," Moosetail posted on Facebook. Moosetail later admitted to APTN on Monday that this was untrue and apologized for making it up.
Despite the false accusation, he insisted the officer’s comments towards the Idle No More movement were true.
Following the Facebook posts and media inquiries, BPS sent out a short press release on Monday afternoon stating it "takes this allegation very seriously," and an investigation has been requested.
BPS public information officer Const. Ron Burgess didn’t reveal any details regarding the investigation and didn’t want to comment on the matter because BPS is the subject of the investigation.
"The problem I have is the allegations have been made against us — the Brandon Police Service — and there is an investigation going to occur, so I can’t really comment further," Burgess said when contacted by the Sun. "The request has been made, that’s all I can say."
The BPS has been advised the investigation will be conducted by the RCMP.
RCMP Blue Hills staff sergeant Mike Zens was unable to comment on Moosetail’s allegations, but said Facebook is not a proper forum for such complaints.
"If someone wants to make a legitimate complaint, there’s the proper formats and forums that they need to follow," he said.
The Idle No More peaceful grassroots movement has grown into a nationwide phenomenon stemming from First Nations’ distaste for the Conservative government’s most recent omnibus bill, which included amendments to the Indian Act, the Fisheries Act and the Environmental Protection Act.
Brandon’s most recent Idle No More protest on Jan. 11 saw more than 200 participants block 18th Street and Victoria Avenue.
Brandon University Aboriginal Student Council president Julia Stoneman was one of the organizers for the last event and said there won’t be any more local protests in the coming weeks.
Although no blockades are planned, BUASC is meeting with the Brandon Urban Aboriginal Peoples’ Council on Jan. 21 and Brandon City Council on Jan. 24.
"Just to start building a relationship where we can start making changes," Stoneman said.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition January 15, 2013