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

RCMP charge Langley man in connection with boat collision on Cultus Lake

A 67-year-old man allegedly operated a motor boat that collided with a woman paddling a canoe

UPDATE: Sts’ailes FSR Fire ‘being held’ at 12 hectares

Status changed from ‘out of control’ on Wednesday afternoon

Airlines dispute Dr. Henry’s claim they ‘very rarely’ give accurate COVID contact tracing info

Air Canada, WestJet say they provide names and contact information

‘We all have anxieties’: B.C.’s top doctor addresses return-to-school fears amid COVID-19

Dr. Bonnie Henry promises school restart plan safe for B.C. kids

Abbotsford mom worried about her two kids in Beirut following explosion

Shelley Beyak’s children were abducted by their dad in 2018

Young Canadians, hospitality workers bear the brunt of mental strain in 2020: report

A study by Morneau Shepell points to economic uncertainty in the pandemic as the cause for angst

Former high-stakes poker player from Mission missing in Nevada

Brad Booth last seen on July 13, told roommate he was going camping

Health Canada recalling more than 50 hand sanitizers in evolving list

Organization says to stop using products listed, and to consult a health-care professional

Airborne hot dog strikes Greater Victoria pedestrian

Police called to 4200-block of Quadra Street for hot dog incident

Mission’s 7-Eleven defaced with racist graffiti

Racist insults attacking Indo-Canadians ‘shocked’ manager

B.C. scientist, 63, protests in trees set to be removed for Trans Mountain pipeline

Tim Takaro is reaching new heights as he tries to stall the pipeline expansion project in New Westminster

Most Read