Charmaine Dreaver says she hopes that by continuing to bring her own story forward, it may prevent future deaths of Indigenous people at the hands of police.
Dreaver’s 22-year-old son Jordan Lafond died following a high-speed vehicle chase with Saskatoon police in October 2016.
The stolen truck Lafond was a passenger in eventually crashed.
A recent report by the Saskatchewan Public Complaints Commission says one of the officers involved in his arrest used excessive force.
Dreaver said there was never any doubt in her mind this was the case.
During the coroner’s inquest into Lafond’s death in June 2018, the jury heard Sgt. Thomas Gresty kneed Lafond in the head as may as four times.
Lafond was lying face down at the time.
Dreaver said Indigenous people simply do not trust police and that is why they often flee from them.
“It is a lack of trust,” she said. “Obviously we’ve been grown to be scared of these people. Our people are scared of these people. It’s been bullied into people for years, decades.”
Dreaver added she hopes relations between police and Indigenous people change for the better but remains skeptical.
“To be honest, I really don’t know if they will. But I hope they do. This is enough. Way too many lives and too many people being brutalized by the police. It has to change. I don’t know if it will but all we can do is come together and keep standing and fighting for what is right.”
This month, the province expanded the role of the Public Complaints Commission.
The PCC will have the power to appoint an independent observer when someone has suffered injury or death in police custody.
Previously, it was the deputy minister of justice who appointed this position.
Also, in cases where an Indigenous person is involved, a second investigation observer who is either First Nations or Métis must be appointed.
Police services are now required to ask another police organization to investigate serious injury, death or sexual assaults that happen in police custody.
The PCC also has the power to appoint other individuals as independent investigation observers, rather than only retired police officers which was previously the case.
However, the changes do not go as far as what other provinces, such Alberta and Ontario, currently have in place.
In these provinces, civilian bodies investigate police when such incidents occur.
In Saskatchewan, it will still be police investigating other police.
Dreaver has launched a civil lawsuit against the officers who arrested her son.
(PHOTO: Charmaine Dreaver’s son Jordan Lafond died after a vehicle chase with Saskatoon police in October 2016.)