MISSION – RCMP in Mission, B.C., say about 30 witnesses have provided statements in an investigation involving the driver of a pickup truck who allegedly hit four people participating in a march related to residential schools.
The department says in a tweet that its serious crime team has been working on the case since the incident occurred in early June and the statements are part of a report to Crown counsel to determine if any charges will be laid.
However, it says putting together such a report “doesn’t happen overnight” and that “90 days is pretty quick.”
A 77-year-old man turned himself in to police two days after some members of the Cheam First Nation group were allegedly struck while marching along a highway to draw attention to survivors of residential schools.
The nation is among those that have criticized police for what’s been called a slow investigation and the RCMP’s original description of the suspect as an “impatient driver” who couldn’t pass the marchers on the highway.
The RCMP have since deleted the tweet issued Monday. The tweet drew some critical responses, and a media spokesman for the detachment could not immediately be reached for comment.
Dan McLaughlin, spokesman for the BC Prosecution Service, said Crown counsel has recently received a report from police about the alleged hit-and-run incident.
“We do not have a time estimate for the completion of this process,” he said in a written statement, adding no further details will be provided while the matter is being reviewed.
Mounties have said two of the four people who were struck suffered minor injuries as they walked on the only eastbound lane of Lougheed Highway, near the former St. Mary’s residential institution for Indigenous children.
In June, the captain of the B.C. chapter of the Crazy Indians Brotherhood said the group met in Chilliwack to discuss how police planned to proceed with the case because they had concerns that the driver would not be treated the same as any of them in a similar situation.
Garett Dan said the four-hour meeting at the Cheam First Nation band office got “out of hand” at one point as everyone, including eight members of the group and four RCMP officers, sat in a circle.
Dan, who organized the march, said the event itself was emotional because participants were calling for ground-penetrating radar to search for possible unmarked graves of children who did not survive their forced attendance at St. Mary’s.
He has said the driver was goading people even before the walk began and told them to get off the road.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 12, 2022.
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