Canada’s national chief says Winnipeg police should have done their job and kept a 15-year-old girl safe in the hours before she was last seen alive.
Perry Bellegarde of the Assembly of First Nations says police failed to protect Tina Fontaine when they came into contact with the missing teen days before her body was pulled from the Red River.
Fontaine was in a vehicle pulled over by two officers more than a week after she was reported missing last summer, but she was not taken into custody.
The Winnipeg Police Service says neither of the officers will face criminal charges.
Bellegarde says frustration is growing with how the justice system handles missing and murdered aboriginal women.
He says there needs to be a strong message that the lives of aboriginal women are just as important as everybody else’s.
“We’ve got to make sure we learn from the past and not make the same mistakes going forward,” Bellegarde said Wednesday following a speech in Winnipeg. “We need to send a strong message that that kind of service is not accepted in today’s society.”
The Assembly of First Nations has called for an independent probe on how police handled Fontaine’s disappearance.
Her relatives have said that a few hours after police came across Fontaine, the teen was found passed out in a downtown alley. Paramedics took her to a nearby hospital where she stayed for several hours before social workers picked her up.
She was taken to a hotel, but she ran away again and disappeared for good the following day.
Her body was found more than a week later. Police have not revealed how she died and no charges have been laid.