Also, please note that this is an update of the following post to this list, detailing how indigenous women were being sexually assaulted by Quebec police. Val-d'Or is the town in Quebec where the first women came forward. Please note that for this post and all associated links, trigger warnings apply for racism and sexual assault.
'Betrayed, humiliated' Val-d'Or women speak out after no charges against police accused of abuse
6 officers have been on paid suspension since investigation began in October 2015
Joyce Thomas, right, was one of the women who came forward to allege that provincial police in Val-d'Or, Que., abused her. (Radio-Canada )
Indigenous women who came forward with allegations of sexual and physical abuse at the hands of Quebec provincial police in Val-d'Or say they're disappointed and concerned to learn the Crown is not expected to pursue charges.
"It's like encouraging the police to continue to do things," said Joyce Thomas in an interview with CBC's French-language service Radio-Canada.
Thomas and 11 other women, who allege that provincial police officers abused them, signed a statement which was read out during a news conference at the Native Friendship Centre in Val-d'Or on Thursday.
· No charges in Val-d'Or abuse scandal will breed further mistrust, Indigenous leaders say
· Former Quebec police officer charged with armed, sexual assault dating back to early 1990s
It was the first time they've spoken out since Radio-Canada sources said Crown prosecutors will not charge six Quebec provincial police officers who were under investigation. The officers have been on paid suspension since the investigation began in October 2015.
The Crown has scheduled a news conference Friday to make its findings public. Montreal police turned over to prosecutors 37 files involving 31 alleged victims.
In the statement, the women describe feeling "betrayed, humiliated" and expressed "fear of the return of the suspended police officers, fear of reprisals, fear for our own security."
Twelve women who allege they were abused by provincial police officers signed a statement that said they felt 'betrayed, humiliated' after learning that the Crown is not expected to move forward with any charges against the officers under investigation. (Radio-Canada )
Joséphine Papatie is another alleged victim who signed the statement. She said she met earlier in the week with Crown prosecutors who informed her that no charges would be pursued for her file.
"I don't believe they did their job," said Papatie to Radio-Canada. "Why? I can't put that into words."
On Wednesday, Fannie Lafontaine, the civilian auditor who was tasked with observing the investigation as it was carried out by Montreal police, released her report and said it was a "fair and impartial" process. She added, however, that criminal investigations are limited and do not address the deeper issues facing Indigenous people in Quebec.
· Independent observer in Val-d'Or abuse scandal says police investigation 'fair, impartial'
· More Quebec Indigenous women break their silence about police abuse
Both Thomas and Papatie said they're concerned for the future of their children.
"I have kids, young girls; will this happen to them too?" said Thomas.
In the conclusion of the statement, the women called on the government of Quebec to launch a public and independent inquiry to conduct a full investigation. Some Indigenous leaders have made the same suggestion in the wake of the investigation.
The allegations of abuse first came to light after a report by Radio-Canada's investigative program Enquête.
Members of the Sûreté du Québec are suing Radio-Canada for airing the report.
The officers claim the report was "biased, misleading," and its content was "inaccurate, incomplete and untrue," and created a hostile working environment for officers in Val-d'Or, a city 600 kilometres northwest of Montreal.
OP: This is really really horrible and these women need to get justice. This link states that the Quebec provincial government has also refused to hold a public inquiry into this.
Some additional links:
-More details on this situation are in my previous post to this comm: 'More aboriginal women allege abuse at hands of Quebec provincial police'.
-Another post: 'On Canada's National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls'. (Because this abuse is part of a larger issue of systemic racism in Canada.)
-UN human rights report shows that Canada is failing Indigenous peoples. (At Amnesty International)
-A link to another earlier post of mine, on the suicide crisis in indigenous communities in the country. (Trigger warning for this link: self harm.)