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Kinngait shooting death investigation wraps up, but report's findings not made public

Ottawa Police Service has completed its investigative report into the shooting death of a Kinngait resident who was involved in a fatal encounter with an RCMP officer on Feb. 26.

Ottawa Police Service has forwarded its investigative report into the Feb. 26 shooting death of a Kinngait resident by a Mountie to the RCMP for review. It's unclear whether the report's findings will be made public.
image courtesy of Ottawa Police Service

The document was turned over to Nunavut's Mounties on Aug. 11, according to Ottawa Police Service (OPS).

Asked on Aug. 18 whether the RCMP will make public the contents of the report, Cpl. Jamie Savikataaq replied: “We are hoping OPS will have their (news) release out no later than the end of the week. They have not provided us with a date at this time.”

OPS, which assigned four investigative officers to the case, didn't provide an answer to Nunavut News' Aug. 19 inquiry as to whether the document will become part of the public record.

Mark Witzaney, acting director of policy and planning with the Nunavut Department of Justice, said the release of information regarding an OPS investigation in Nunavut is the “prerogative of the Ottawa Police Service under our agreement with them.”

The Government of Nunavut has a formal arrangement to use the investigative services of OPS when RCMP conduct is in question or when an RCMP officer is responsible for a death.

“However, due to public interest in these matters, we will work with OPS and the RCMP to have the results of this investigation, not the investigation report, made available to the public,” Witzaney said.

Interest in Kinngait is particularly piqued. Mayor Timoon Toonoo said the RCMP owes the community an explanation for the incident.

“Oh yes, very much so,” Toonoo said. “People were shocked, very shocked.”

GN not privy to full report

In early March, OPS Const. Martin Dompierre told Nunavut News: “(The investigation report) will be submitted to the RCMP and if the RCMP wants to speak to it then that's their responsibility.”

Witzaney said the even the GN doesn't receive a copy of the full investigative report but instead gets a notice of the result.

“This is due to the sensitive nature of the evidence and material contained in an investigation report,” he said.

In June, Witzaney told Nunavut News that, depending on the circumstances of the death, it may be subject to a mandatory coroners inquest following the completion of the police investigation.

The Office of the Chief Coroner, an independent, arms-length body, will conduct an inquest as prescribed in the Coroners Act. The schedule for the inquest will be finalized when all relevant information is obtained from the investigative document, according to Khen Sagadraca, Nunavut's deputy chief coroner.

 An OPS investigation of an unrelated RCMP shooting death in Clyde River on May 5 is still ongoing, an OPS spokesperson stated on Aug. 11. That probe also involves four OPS officers.