Maxwell Johnson. (Facebook)

B.C. First Nation calls probe into arrest of Indigenous man at bank ‘woefully inadequate’

Maxwell Johnson and his 12-year-old granddaughter had been at a Bank of Montreal branch in Vancouver on Dec. 20

A B.C. First Nation is calling the response to an Indigenous man’s arrest and detention at a Vancouver bank “woefully inadequate.”

In a statement issued Wednesday, the Heiltsuk Nation said they stood behind Maxwell Johnson and his granddaughter after the duo were arrested and detained for an hour while trying to open a bank account.

Johnson, a member of the Heiltsuk Nation, and his 12-year-old granddaughter had been at a Bank of Montreal branch in Vancouver on Dec. 20 when an employee called the police to report a fraud in progress, citing concerns over Johnson’s Indian Status card and identification.

The Heiltsuk said the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner investigation launched Tuesday into the Vancouver police officers’ conduct fell short of addressing the community’s concerns.

The First Nation acknowledged the investigation was a step in the right direction but said it was not “comforting or acceptable to us that police should be investigating police on a matter that goes to the heart of systemic racism.” The Delta police have been tasked with carrying out the OPCC-ordered probe.

The officers in question have already cleared been by an internal Vancouver police investigation but the Heiltsuk want a civillian-based Vancouver Police Board probe.

The Heiltsuk said the responses from the Bank of Montreal and Vancouver police have not done enough. In a statement, the nation said they take “strong exception” to comments made by the Vancouver police chief that the officers’ response was “standard operating procedure.” The Heiltsuk also took aim at the Bank of Montreal, accusing them of racial profiling.

Johnson, the Heiltsuk said, is a “a much-loved and respected artist, carver, cultural leader, singer, foster parent, and knowledge holder in our community,” who has publicly talked about his struggles with anxiety and panic disorder.

The Vancouver police have admitted the arrest was “upsetting and distressing” to Johnson and his granddaughter, but have declined to comment further while the OPCC investigation is ongoing. The bank issued an apology following the incident.

A community support rally was held in Vancouver for Johnson on Tuesday.

READ MORE: Probe ordered into B.C. arrest of Indigenous man, granddaughter trying to open bank account


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pandemic has Trail council re-considering budget, tax increase

Coronavirus changes forecast, city leaders deciding what changes to make in 2020

West Kootenay octogenarian helping develop low-cost ventilator for COVID-19 patients

Peter Brockley is working with his doctor son, Graham, to develop the unit that could save lives

Trail mayor sends message to residents regarding COVID-19

Letter to the Editor from Mayor Lisa Pasin

Kootenay doctor mobilizes engineers in effort to bolster PPE supply

West Kootenay doctor, engineers and volunteers create personal protection equipment with 3D printers

Kootenay, the post offices and ships

Place Names: CPR sternwheeler and two navy destroyers took the name Kootenay

Trudeau announces 75% wage subsidy for small businesses amid COVID-19

This is up from the previously announced 10 per cent wage subsidy

World update, 9:30 p.m. March 27: Positive news in Korea as U.S. hits 100,000 cases

The United States now has the most coronavirus cases of any country in the world

VIDEO: Penguins roam empty halls of Vancouver Aquarium

COVID-19 has forced the Vancouver Aquarium to close access to guests – leaving room for its residents

Kids get back to learning in B.C., online

Ministry of Education rolls out new tool for school

67 more B.C. COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Vancouver region

Positive tests found in Surrey, Langley long-term care facilities

‘Now is not the time to bag that peak’: BCSAR manager discourages risky outdoor adventures

Call volumes are not going down, even as the COVID-19 pandemic persists

Food Banks BC already seeing surge in demand due to COVID-19 pandemic

Executive director Laura Lansink said they expect applications will keep increasing

Nanaimo couple caught aboard cruise ship with four dead and COVID-19 present

Four ‘older guests’ have died on Holland America’s Zaandam; cruise line confirms two COVID-19 cases

Frontline workers receiving COVID-19 isolation exemptions prompt concerns

Provincial Health Authority staff exempt from self-isolation upon return from international travel

Most Read