“There is no justice”: family of Dale Culver appalled as Crown drops charges against RCMP officers responsible for his death

“There is no justice”: family of Dale Culver appalled as Crown drops charges against RCMP officers responsible for his death

LHEIDLI T'ENNEH (PRINCE GEORGE) – Grieving relatives of a Wet’suwet’en man killed by RCMP officers are warning other families after constables Paul Sainte-Marie and Jean-Francois Monette walked free on Friday. Crown prosecutors announced a stay of charges, ending the prosecution of the two officers in Dale Culver’s death.

“We have a system that says if you have a gun and a badge, you can kill any Indigenous person in any town in B.C. and not go to jail,” said Raven Culver, sister to Dale. “Our family has endured seven years of delays, waiting for the day Dale’s killers would be held accountable. Today our worst fears were confirmed. There is no justice.”

Since Dale Culver’s death there have been 379 police-related deaths in British Columbia. Until Friday, Culver’s case was the first time officers faced charges of manslaughter in the death of an Indigenous man in the province.

“Not only are these men still in uniform, they’re still assaulting our community members,” said Debbie Pierre, Dale’s sister. Cst. Paul Sainte-Marie faces a separate charge of assault related to an arrest in August 2022. “Something is rotten in Prince George. Something is deeply wrong with the so-called justice system in this city.”

“These are the officers the RCMP pulls from when they recruit volunteers to conduct raids on Wet’suwet’en territory,” said Na’moks, head chief of the Tsayu (Beaver) clan. “They are trained to see us as less than human, and that is reinforced every time the RCMP kills one of our people and gets away with it.”

Since 2019 the RCMP’s Critical Response Unit has conducted three major raids on Wet’suwet’en land defenders. Audio captured during one operation revealed officers calling Indigenous people ‘orcs ’and ‘ogres ’and laughing about sexually assaulting an arrestee. The B.C. government has increased the unit’s budget despite ongoing lawsuits and a systemic review by the RCMP’s civilian watchdog.

“We are deeply outraged that manslaughter charges against these publicly paid RCMP officers who killed Dale Culver have been dropped. Now is the time for major changes to B.C.’s Police Act, before these racial tensions boil over,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. “The law must be updated in line with B.C.’s international human rights commitments under UNDRIP. And officers must be held accountable for each and every death of an Indigenous person at the hands of police. We are not dispensable. This has to stop.”

The Office of the Wet’suwet’en added: “As Wet’suwet’en we share one heart and one soul, our laws and traditions speak with one voice!”

Media contacts:

Debbie Pierre, sister to Dale Culver: 778-210 1466
Na’moks, head chief of Wet’suwet’en Tsayu Clan: 250-643-0771
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, UBCIC President: 250-490-5314

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