Vancouver police responds to referral from National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

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      CBC News has reported that Vancouver police spoke to an Indigenous woman who made serious allegations against the department.

      Juanita Desjarlais testified at the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls that she had been assaulted by police officers in the 1980s and 1990s.

      CBC reporter Chantelle Bellrichard revealed that the MMIWG inquiry had written to the VPD asking it to "take further action".

      That led to Desjarlais being interviewed.

      Bellrichard also reported that 12 other letters were sent to the VPD.

      The mammoth MMIWG report included several stories connected to Vancouver, including the tragic tale of Verna Mae Simard-Shabaquay, originally from Red Lake, Ontario.

      She died after falling out of a sixth-floor window at the notorious Regent Hotel on East Hastings Steet on September 16, 2011.

      While her death was deemed suspicious, police determined that there was "no foul play". The family believes that she was thrown out of the window.

      "This case can be reopened pending any new information brought forward by any person," Priscilla Simard testified in Thunder Bay. "We, as a family believe the intimate partner violence contributed to her death."

      Another woman, identified as Cee-Jai J., described how her sister Norma went missing in 1992 and was found murdered a few days later.

      Twenty-five years later to the day, Cee-Jai J. testified that her daughter died of a car accident after police took her home rather than to the hospital.

      After the MMIWG report was released, Vancouver police said it was conducting a review and would work on a response in consultation with Vancouver's Indigenous communities.

      The statement maintained that police in B.C. have made progress in building relationships with these communities.

      "The VPD recognizes that there are systemic issues within the city, province and country that have resulted in disproportionate police interaction with Indigenous People, and led to increased vulnerability of Indigenous women and girls," the VPD stated. "Police have a role to play in ending the violence, death and unexplained disappearances of Indigenous women and girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people."

      The VPD also released a report last year outlining its various initiatives with Indigenous peoples.