By Judy Bird

Last month, the Saskatchewan Public Complaints Commission ruled that Regina Police officers were unjustified in their use of force against Simon Ash-Moccasin during an incident in December 2014, and though he is pleased with the ruling in his favour, Ash-Moccasin says he will continue his battle for acknowledging that he was racially profiled.

“It’s not over,” said Ash-Moccasin.

“The (S)PCC doesn’t investigate motive, and so they don’t investigate racial profiling, but when you read the report, there it is,” he said.

“The Human Rights Commission can comment on racial profiling,” he added.

He has completed the paperwork to file a complaint with the Human Rights Commission (HRC), but has not filed it yet.

The SPCC recommended mediation for the two sides to resolve this issue. Last month after the ruling, Regina Police Service (RPS) Chief Troy Hagen met with Ash-Moccasin and apologized on behalf of RPS. Ash-Moccasin said that mediation was also discussed at this meeting.

“All signs point to mediation regardless of what avenue (including the HRC) we take at this point. We’re still waiting to hear back from RPS about that mediation process, so here we are,” he said.

In December 2014, Ash-Moccasin was walking to the Cornwall Centre in downtown Regina when he was approached by police. He said that the first officer that approached him tried to have a conversation with him.

“The last thing he said before this other guy came up out of nowhere was ‘you fit a description’ and right then I was like ‘what?’ and that’s when that other cop just threw me up against the wall, no questions asked,” recalled Ash-Moccasin.

Moments earlier, police said a call was received from a citizen who reported seeing an aboriginal male with short hair, missing his front teeth, dressed in black, carrying a television down the street. The caller thought the man was suspicious and police were dispatched.

Ash-Moccasin has long hair, was wearing green and not carrying a tv.  He also has his front teeth intact. “They were close enough to see that,” he said.

“I just froze when that one guy told me that ‘you fit a description,’ and that’s the first thing that popped in my head was well, it’s my skin. There’s no other deciding factors here why they feel they can stop me, rough me up, detain me and then send me on my way. How many other people do they do that to in Regina?” he said.

“I was just walking down the street, minding my own business.”

At a media event in January after the SPCC released its report, Chief Troy Hagen said that there was no evidence in the investigation to suggest that race was a factor, and that rather the officers made an error in judgment.

Chief Hagen said he believed it was a “training deficiency” for the two police officers, and that it was consistent with the SPCC findings. “They stated that they acknowledged that the officers were acting in good faith,” he said.

As a result of that finding, RPS is going to provide training for all members, but also specifically for the police members involved.

Ash-Moccasin doesn’t believe that additional training is the answer. “There’s enough training out there to combat against peoples own prejudices,” he said.

“It sucks to go through this in general. I don’t mean to play the victim here, it happens in Regina all the time and those ones that it happens to, it’s like they’re put into a submission of silence for the fear of being targetted,” he added.

Ash-Moccasin has also requested to meet with Regina Mayor Michael Fougere, but said he has not received a response to his request yet.

Treaty 4 News reached out to Mayor Fougere for comment, and received a written response that Mayor Fougere has not yet decided if he will be meeting with Mr. Ash-Moccasin. The Mayor stated that the situation is also complicated by the implications of  Ash-Moccasin’s complaint to the Human Rights Commission and intent to pursue other legal avenues, and the Mayor does not want to compromise those proceedings.

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