(Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver, BC) "We are absolutely outraged at the reckless, dangerous and highly irresponsible actions of the RCMP officers who pepper-sprayed at least two children below two years of age, children below the age of 16, parents and the coach and players of the Sechelt Indian Band soccer team" stated Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. "There is no possible excuse for pepper-spraying babies and small children. No excuse whatsoever!"
"Members of the highly respected Sechelt Indian Band were merely participating in a time-honored practice of celebrating a soccer tournament victory in relation to a soccer tournament which was held at the Musqueum First Nation community earlier in the day," continued Grand Chief Phillip.
"In conclusion, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs fully agrees and demands that the RCMP immediately issue both a verbal and written apology to members of the Sechelt Indian Band. Furthermore, the UBCIC fully supports the Sechelt Indian Band’s Chief and Council call for an 'arms-length' investigation into the pepper-spraying incident. As it stands, in the aftermath of this outrageous incident, the children within the Sechelt Indian Band community have no good reason to place their trust in the RCMP. If there is ever any hope of restoring the harshly ruptured relationship between the RCMP and the Sechelt Indian Band community, an arms-length investigation is absolutely essential!"
- 30 -
For further comment, contact:
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip (250) 490-5314
UBCIC is a NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.