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Nearly four months after a 16-year-old female was shot and killed by Winnipeg police, the city’s police force has refused to disclose the use-of-force report related to her death.
Releasing information now about the shooting of 16-year-old Eishia Hudson could hurt an investigation into the case, the Free Press was told after it requested the report through freedom-of-information legislation. In response to the FIPPA request, staff consulted a Winnipeg Police Service sergeant and determined disclosure of the report could be harmful to a law enforcement matter, so access was denied.
Winnipeg officers are required to document their use of force, including any time they present or discharge a weapon. The reports typically contain the reason for the use of force, information about injuries sustained by all of those involved, and what kind of resistance the police officers were facing when they used force.
Police shot Eishia near Lagimodiere Boulevard and Fermor Avenue on April 8 during the pursuit of a stolen vehicle. Police said she was driving the stolen vehicle, which she and four other teenage suspects used to get away from a Sage Creek liquor store after allegedly stealing alcohol and threatening workers. Police shot Hudson after the stolen vehicle crashed into other cars, just after 5:30 p.m.
Manitoba’s police watchdog, the Independent Investigation Unit, is investigating. Manitoba’s children’s advocate announced it will conduct an independent investigation into Eishia’s death once criminal proceedings have ended.
In the meantime, Eishia’s family is waiting for answers. Her father, William Hudson, has been outspoken about issues of police brutality at local rallies organized to call for justice in his daughter’s death, but he said he’s been told to sit tight until the watchdog’s investigation is done, and he wants to respect that process.
"I’m kind of in the dark like everybody else right now," he said.
"I get asked all the time, but I give the same answer, no comment here, because I don’t want to jeopardize anything. I want it to be fair on my end, because I don’t know what the outcome’s going to be, and I don’t want to hurt anything (with the investigation)."
Eishia, one of seven siblings, was "always the loudest one, always the one joking around, always the one attending to her nieces and nephews," her father said, adding he thinks of her as "always smiling." "She was very lovable, kind."
The teen was one of three Indigenous people to be shot dead by Winnipeg police within a 10-day period in the spring. Hudson said he’s organizing another peaceful rally on Aug. 21.
"I want her to be remembered... I want things to change. I hope it opens up eyes, all over (not just in Winnipeg)," Hudson said. "Things have got to change."
Katie May reports on courts, crime and justice for the Free Press.
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