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

New multi-use trail network coming to Red Mountain in Rossland

Kootenay Columbia Trails Society will help to build 5.8 kilometres worth of trails this summer

FortisBC offers 90-day bill deferrals to customers impacted by COVID-19

Customers can apply for the relief program through the utility’s website

Frustrated MLA begs out of province visitors to stay home

Columbia River Revelstoke MLA Doug Clovechok doesn’t understand why people aren’t listening to good advice

Rossland city councillors issue development permit for new city hall, affordable housing development

If construction goes ahead, the four-storey development would be located at 1920 3rd Avenue

Blasting through to the Beaver Valley

80 years ago; ‘Pretty near all the people from Fruitvale were working on it’

COVID-19: 4 new deaths, 25 new cases but only in Vancouver Coastal, Fraser Health

A total of 1,291 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

John Horgan, Adrian Dix call 130 faith leaders as holidays approach

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

RCMP call on kids to name latest foal recruits

The baby horses names are to start with the letter ‘S’

As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

Non-commercial land crossing dipped by 95%, air travel dropped by 96 per cent, according to the CBSA

Logan Boulet Effect: Green Shirt Day calls on Canadians to become organ donors

While social distancing, the day also honours the 16 lives lost in the 2018 Humboldt Broncos Crash

COMMENTARY: Knowing where COVID-19 cases are does not protect you

Dr. Bonnie Henry explains why B.C. withholds community names

B.C. wide burning restrictions come into effect April 16

‘Larger open burns pose an unnecessary risk and could detract from wildfire detection’

Most Read